Miecznik multi-role frigate
"Miecznik" ["Swordbearer" or "Swordfish"] is one of the projects of the Technical Modernization Plan 2021-35. Based on the Miecznik program, the Polish army should receive fast frigates with weapons, and the firepower of each of them will be greater than that of the Naval Missile Unit. The acquisition of the ships is part of the Strategic Concept of Maritime Safety, which was developed at the request of Polish President Andrzej Duda. Poland already had a negative experience of the national military shipbuilding program. The country has not been able to implement the Gawron corvette program.
A Miecznik (Latin: ensifer, Dutch: sword-bearer) was an honorary title at the court of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A Miecznik was responsible for the arsenal of the Crown and for carrying the royal sword. Since the 14th century, the title has also been used to designate district officials.
Mariusz Blaszczak, head of the Polish MoD, announced 24 July 2021 neither Orka submarines nor gap-filler submarine acquisition program are to be the first procurement that the Polish Navy would be making in the foreseeable future. Miecznik-class coastal defence vessel will be the priority. The "Miecznik" project is the most expensive contract in the history of the Polish defense industry. As part of the program, Poland formed a consortium comprising the Polish Armaments Group and the PGZ Naval shipyard to purchase three frigates for the Navy. According to the schedule, the qualification test of the single prototype frigate is planned to be completed by 2028 June. The second frigate is due to be delivered to the Polish Navy in 2033, followed by the third ship in 2034.
This program, launched by the Polish Government, envisages the construction of three multi-role frigates at the local shipyard PGZ through a Transfer of Technology (ToT) contract with one of the three international companies that have reached the "short list". The final decision will be known at the turn of 2021 and 2022. The Miecznik is part of the Polish Government's plan to modernize its Armed Forces, a plan that would have an investment of 115,000 million euros until 2035.
The Miecznik program was first announced in 2012, but it wasn’t until 15 March 2021, that an actual procurement procedure was launched. In Stocznia Wojenna in Gdynia, on 27 July 2021 Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak signed a contract for the delivery of three frigates as part of the "Miecznik" project. It is a record one-time contract of the Polish defense industry. The cost is PLN 10 billion.
The contract is the largest ever order for the domestic defense industry. The agreement between the Armament Inspectorate and the PGZ-Miecznik Consortium (which includes Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa SA, PGZ Stocznia Wojenna Sp. Z oo and Remontowa Shipbuilding SA) will create many new jobs in shipyards and defense companies. The ships will be built according to the 1 + 2 scheme. The first frigate is to become part of the Polish Navy in 2028. Two more - until 2034.
"I am glad that shortly after ordering the Abrams tanks for the Polish Armed Forces, today, here in Gdynia, we can sign a contract for the order of three ships for the Navy. These ships will be manufactured in Poland" said Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak after signing the contract.
The minister also praised the future possibilities of the new frigates. "These will be units whose firepower can be compared to that of a squadron of a naval missile unit" said the head of the Ministry of National Defense. "We want the first ship to be launched in four years, and then more units" Blaszczak announced in Gdynia.
The Navantia F-100 was in competition with the Babcock Arrowhead 140 and the MEKO A200/A300 of Thyssenkrupp Marine. These three companies were pre-selected (a total of 5 companies applied for participation in the tender, which submitted 6 versions of the Polish frigate project). The selection process had entered the so-called feasibility phase, in which companies adjust their proposals to the design required by the Directorate of Material of the Ministry of Defence of Poland. The winning company in the next stage will not be a full member of the consortium, but only its contractor.
Babcock was one of the companies selected by the Polish government to provide a potential design solution for the Polish Miecznik frigate program. Backed by the UK government, Babcock looked forward to working with the PGZ-Miecznik consortium to deliver a proposal based on the modern, highly capable and versatile Arrow 140 frigate platform. “We are very excited about this opportunity. This work would bring significant social and economic benefits to Poland, improving and reinvigorating Polish shipbuilding for years to come.” said Babcock CEO David Lockwood.
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems disclosed, for the first time, that it offered the MEKO A-300PL frigates to the Polish Navy, instead of the MEKO A-200 PL, within the framework of the “Miecznik” program. However, no details were published, regarding the offered vessel. CEO of TKMS, Dr. Rolf Wirtz, said "As a leading supplier of frigate warship technology to 19 navies worldwide to date, including 6 NATO navies, TKMS is proud to be able to offer Poland the MEKO® A-300 PL, our most up-to-date variant of the famous MEKO® technology frigate family."
If selected, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will form an enduring Technology Partnership with Polish industry for the building, integration and lifecycle support of the MEKO® A-300 PL frigates entirely in Poland. Partnering with the industry of other nations to build our designs is ‘standard practise’ for thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, with over 50% of exported warships having been built by TKMS customer shipyards over the years.
Navantia entered the "short list" of the Polish ministry of defense for the construction of the three frigates of the Miecznik program. Navantia submitted an offer based on the F-100 frigate, in service with the Armada Española. According to the shipyard, this "has been the starting point for successful export contracts to Norway and Australia".
Navantia has long experience in the design and construction of a wide range of frigates. They have proven flexibility to adapt to the needs of the Polish Navy. It has also demonstrated the ability to efficiently execute different models of technology transfer that have allowed the local development of shipbuilding capabilities; as well as life cycle support. It is a business model with high added value in which Navantia has success stories through its contracts in Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Australia. Navantia is prepared to have a real presence in Poland and in this way contribute to the construction and maintenance of ships. This collaboration model has proven to be beneficial for both Navantia and its partners and will allow Poland, a friend and ally country, to equip itself with a technologically advanced and proven naval defense capacity both in Spain and in other international clients; assured the Commercial and Business Development Director of Navantia, Javier Herrador.
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