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Radar and Air Defense Forces

The Polish Air Force structure has changed during the last few years and now it includes the Air Operations Centre (AOC) as well as Control and Reporting Centers (CRC). As a result, both the equipment and organisation structure of the Radar Forces has also changes. The whole transformation process is aimed at gaining full interoperability with the NATO air defence system.

From 1999 to 2009 the Radar Forces have gradually reduced the number of radar units, equipment and personell. One radar brigade, 9 radar batallions and 24 radar companies were disbanded. The number of serving soldiers was reduced by 10 thousand. The ammount of radar devices have been cosiderably reduced and the soviet-produced radars have been withdrawn from service.

At present, the Radar Forces are equipped with many types of radars. The most modern are the NUR-12M radars introduced in 2007 and operating at the long-range radar posts, as well as mobile medium-range TRS-15 ODRA radars. The older devices introduced in the 1990's include 3D radars NUR-12, NUR-31MK pathfinders and moblie NUR-41 highfinders. The oldest group of radars used by the Radar Forces is the AVIA W radar system - introduced in the beginning of the 1980's. By 2011 the long-range radar posts were to be equipped with three italian-produced RAT-31 DL devices, obtained within the framework of the Capability Package 5A0044 "Provide BACKBONE Air Defense Radars for Enlargement Nations", financed by NATO.

Because of the proces of obsolescence, the majority of the currently operated radars are to be gradually withdrawn form service. These shall be replaced with new types of radars namely:

  • mobile long-range WARTA radars with active solid state antenna;
  • PCL passive devices;
  • radars dedicated for airport airspace controle services.

As a result of the technical modernization, the majority of currently operated radars would be replaced by next-generation systems by 2018. The Radar Forces will then possess equipment that allows them to detect a much broader range of airborne objects, provide airspace surveillance as well as detact and track tactical ballistic missile threats. The modern radars systems shall be fully interoperational both with the national as well as Allied air control systems.

Poland announced 22 April 2015 it would buy Raytheon's Patriot missiles from the United States. "For the armed forces' technical modernization and the Polish armed forces' resilience to be effective, the so-called anti-missile shield had to become the priority of priorities," said Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. Poland will enter exclusive talks with the US government on the Patriot missile defense system. It planned to buy eight missile batteries by 2025, including two within three years of signing. A consortium of France's Thales and European group MBDA was also competing for the $5 billion missile defense contract the largest in Poland's military history.

Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak announced 28 February 2019 a serious revolution in the plans of the Ministry of National Defense for the future. The Ministry wants to buy 32 fifth generation fighters - F-35 quickly. In return, he never mentioned the previous priority, which is the expensive purchase of the Patriot system. With a two-year delay, he signed the Technical Modernization Plan.

The second most important program seems to be Narew. Within this framework, short-range air defense systems are to be purchased. So far, it has been declared that they are to be created with a significant share of Polish industry, even Polish companies have to create it by buying key technologies abroad.

Narew has been in the shadow of the much larger Vistula program , i.e. the purchase of Patriot medium-range air defense and missile defense systems. In 2018 Blaszczak signed a contract for the first phase of this program, assuming the supply of anti-missile elements around 2023. The second phase was to be signed soon and lasting negotiations. In their course, however, it turned out that the expected costs are growing rapidly and are difficult to accept by the Ministry of National Defense. The entire purchase of the Patriot system exceeds PLN 40 billion.



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