Almost PLN 100 million will be spent on the renovation and modernization of two naval vessels - "Kosciuszki" and "Arctowski".
18th Mechanized Division
The creation of a new division was announced 13 September 2018. It was given its name, the commander was designated and indicated where his staff should be. This does not mean, however, that Poland was strengthened militarily. During the peace in the 18th Division 7780 soldiers are to serve, including 750 officers, 2160 non-commissioned officers and 4860 private soldiers. The cost of its creation will amount to PLN 27 billion within 10 years.
The new tactical union is to consist of a command, a command battalion, three brigades (two existing ones, i.e. 1 Armored Brigade and 21 Podhale Rifles and a new one, which is still to be built). Two brigades will be mechanized and the third will be armored. In addition, the division will include a reconnaissance battalion, artillery, anti-aircraft and logistical regiment.
Gen. Div. pil. Jan Sliwka, the first deputy general commander, announced the schedule of creating the division. The first stage will be command (by the end of this year), and then the staff and battalion of command (until August 2019). The second stage involves the creation of a mechanized brigade in Lublin (until 30 June 2019) and the logistics regiment (until December 2022). At the end: a battalion of reconnaissance, artillery regiments, anti-aircraft regiment (readiness will reach in 2026).
The idea of creating the fourth division had been discussed at the Defense Ministry for several years. It was officially announced that the decision was made at the ceremony in Siedlce. Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced that it would be the 18th Mechanized Division. It is to be a reference to the 18th Infantry Division, the famous "Iron Division" from the interwar period and to the celebration of the century of regaining independence in 1918.
The new 18th Division is formed generally in south-eastern Poland. According to the Ministry of Defense's declaration, it is strengthening the eastern border and increase the forces in the direction of which aggression is most likely. This is supposed to be fixing the mistakes of its predecessors, because until 2011 there was the 1st Mechanized Division in this area, but on the wave of reduction, the army was liquidated.
The 18th Division will not be built from scratch, i.e. there will be three new brigades and additional support units, totaling approximately 15,000 people. The 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade (once in the 1st Division, now in the 16th Division) and the 21st Podhale Rifle Brigade (after the dissolution of the 1st Division was lonely) will be included in this new one. There will be a shortage of the third brigade to be created (the one from the old Warsaw division was disbanded).
Both the 1st and 21st Brigades have a non-standard structure, because instead of three battalions they consist of four. It is enough to take them one by one, add one completely new and the basis of the new brigade is already there. In this way, the new 18th Division can be ensured by the full state of the brigades, creating only one additional battalion of less than a thousand people.
Observers suggested that the new division was in principle a good idea, but in real terms in the next few years it will not strengthen the Polish army. What's more, it will force the scattering of already limited resources. - A step in the right direction, but does not change much. In the coming years, this means mainly the arrival of "chiefs", and the "Indians" will be almost the same. - A step in the right direction, but does not change much. It will look good on slides - says Mariusz Cielma, editor-in-chief of the Nowa Technik Wojskowa monthly.
A bigger problem will be the creation of support branches for these brigades. Currently, the standard division of the Polish Army has, apart from three brigades, an artillery regiment and an air defense unit. The commander of the division may use them to support individual brigades, which in themselves have only limited artillery and anti-aircraft weapons.
The problem is that there is no "way" to take these regiments. - This is the biggest and most expensive challenge - says Cielma. The army does not have enough weapons for such regiments, especially since it is already owned in the majority is outdated and awaits modernization. The new one is already purchased under the Krab (armatohaubice) programs or is to be purchased under the programs of Lobster (long-range rocket launchers) and Narew (short-range anti-aircraft defense).
Perhaps the Ministry of National Defense will send new equipment to the regiments of the 18th Division, which is in the Ministry's assessment of the key defense direction. Others will have to use outdated ones longer. It is also possible that as the modern weapons are transferred to the old divisions, their equipment will go not for scrap, but for the east.
Despite this, Cielma describes the idea of strengthening the army on the eastern border as good. - Siedlce, Zamosc and Przemysl are gates to Poland - says the editor-in-chief of "NTW". The problem is that the military has many other pressing needs. - If someone wanted to improve Poland's security realistically and quickly, it would strengthen what is already there and we are going to build new structures - says Cielma.
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