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WR-300 Homar (Lobster)

The Polish Armament Inspectorate invited Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) into negotiations for the delivery of wheeled WR-300 Homar (Lobster) multiple rocket launchers (MRLs). The negotiations with HSW, owned by the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ), were planned to begin in June 2015, with the contract is likely to be signed in the fourth quarter of 2015. The purchase was expected to be worth PLN2.61 billion (USD690 million).

The Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD) planned to purchase sixty WR-300 launchers by 2022. These would form a rocket artillery battalion operations module (Dywizjonowy Modul Ogniowy, DMO), divided into three Homar combat modules, plus on training module. Czeslaw Mroczek, the deputy minister of defence responsible for the modernisation of the Polish Armed Forces, announced the first WR-300 MRL systems will be delivered to the land forces in 2018. "That way we acquire launchers with 300 km range".

The self-propelled wheeled WR-300 Homar will be based on wheeled Jelcz 6x6 truck chassis. It would have a surface-to-surface capability at a range of up to 300 km, compared with the 40 km range of the wheeled WR-40 Langusta MRLs currently used by the Polish Army.

HSWs chassis for KRYL was to be used as a base for WR-300 HOMAR, which will be similar to the US HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) a wheeled version of tracked MRLS. They will be built by HSW. The whole project is in its initial phase. The new wheeled WR-300 launcher would be a supplement of the existing HSW WR-40 LANGUSTA MRL.

Homar had been planned to to be manufactured by a consortium consisting of Polish companies, with a foreign partner. Originally the consortium was to be led by HSW, and later on - by PGZ. It had been assumed that Homar would include Polish vehicles and elements of the Topaz fire control system unified with other fire module elements (Regina, Kryl, Langusta, Krab, and so on). Meanwhile, technology of most of the systems components, including the launchers and the basic missiles, was to be transferred to the Polish companies.

The procurement procedure in question ended up in a failure, even though the US State Department issued an agreement on procurement of Homar elements that were to be acquired via FMS, following a recommendation for HIMARS to pass on, into further phase of the program. The recommendation in question was issued in July that year. In December 2015, the head of the MoD at the time, Antoni Macierewicz, announced that negotiation with the US were tough. An Israeli offer also came back into the equation (IMI Systems Lynx).

According to Joe L. Garland, Vice President Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, by 2015 the Lockheed Martin compny established close cooperation with the HSW company, as well as with some other defence industry businesses from Poland. Lockheed Martin was involved in close cooperation with the Polish enterprises, including the Huta Stalowa Wola company and other subjects involved in the Homar initiative, within the scope of Polonisation of the program. Garland stated that these moves had been made in relation to the HIMARS missile system offer, placed within the scope of the Homar program. Lockheed Martin offered the HIMARS weapons system within the scope of the Homar [Lobster] program, carried out by the Polish Ministry of Defence. The aim of the initiative is to provide the Polish Army with long range strike capacity, at distances of up to 300 kilometers.

On 28 November 2017 the US State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Poland for a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for an estimated cost of $250 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

The Government of Poland requested to purchase sixteen (16) Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M31A1 Unitary, nine (9) Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M30A1 alternative warheads, sixty-one (61) Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) M57 Unitary. Also included are eight (8) Universal Position Navigation Units (UPNU), thirty-four (34) Low Cost Reduced Range (LCRR) practice rockets, one thousand six hundred forty-two (1,642) Guidance and Control Section Assemblies for GMLRS, Missile Common Test Sets and Devices, testing Precision, Lightweight GPS Receivers (PLGR), support equipment, U.S. Government and contractor services, training, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $250 million.

The Polish MoD made a decision to acquire the first HIMARS squadron off the shelf. On 20 July 2018 the Polsih MoD stated: "The Polish Ministry of Defence decided to end the proceedings carried out in line with the procedure adopted back in 2015 and immediately begin negotiation with the US government. [...] This week an MoD delegation, headed by Minister Sebastian Chwialek who is responsible for technical modernization of the Polish military, would travel to the United States to begin talks on implementation of the HOMAR programme, on the basis of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS solution. One of the reasons why we resigned from the launcher procurement process utillized comes in a form of financial expectations on the part of the potential contractors, including foreign ones, that exceed the amounts secured by the MoD for that purpose when the task has been initiated at the beginning of 2015. During the negotiation is was impossible to reach an agreement on all of the Agreements provisions and requirements related to protection of the basic national security interest.

On 29 November 2018 the US State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Poland of (20) High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) M142 Launchers, and other related equipment for an estimated cost of $655 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

Poland requested to buy twenty (20) High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) M142 Launchers, thirty-six (36) Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M31 Unitary, nine (9) Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M30A1 Alternative Warheads, thirty (30) Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) M57 Unitary, twenty-four (24) Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS), twenty (20) Multiple Launcher Pod Assembly M68A2 Trainers, twenty-four (24) M1151A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), and nine (9) M1151A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheel Vehicles (HMMWVs). Also included are twenty (20) Low Cost Reduced Range (LCRR) practice rockets, support equipment, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, test sets, batteries, laptop computers, publications and technical data, facility design, personnel training and equipment, systems integration support, Quality Assurance Teams and a Technical Assistance Fielding Team, United States Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support, training, sensors, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $655 million.

This proposed sale would support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. This sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key allies in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase security.

Poland intended to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. This will contribute to Polands military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX. This FMS case will support the parallel Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) between Lockheed Martin and Polska Grupa Zbrojenjowa (PGZ), the prime contractor for this effort in Poland. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require U.S. Government or contractor representatives to travel to Poland for program management reviews to support the program. Travel is expected to occur approximately twice per year as needed to support equipment fielding and training.

On 13 February 2019, Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed a contract with the US government for the supply of HIMARS long-range missile artillery sets. The contract was initialed in the presence of President Andrzej Duda and American Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.

The United States welcomed Polands decision to move forward with its acquisition of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Signing a Letter of Offer and Acceptance on February 13 was the culmination of successful negotiations between our two countries. This decision greatly increased the potential for cooperation between U.S. and Polish land forces. Polands acquisition of the HIMARS platform was further evidence of Polands commitment to its own and NATOs defense, and to NATO burden sharing and spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense.

The delivery of Lockheed Martins HIMARS is yet another clear step in increasing U.S.-Polish military cooperation, a key objective for the bilateral relationship. Poland is pursuing a total package approach, which includes robust training and maintenance capabilities, that the Polish government has valued at more than $400 million. Exporting the most formidable and cutting edge US technology helps to strengthen Polands ongoing defense modernization programto which Poland devotes more than 25% of its defense budget.

Grzegorz Laguna (Superstacja) remarked that "those who know each other" say that the number of purchased rockets is "very small". - We are talking about one ninth of what the minister (national defense - editorial note) Antoni Macierewicz said at the beginning of the term of the Law and Justice - he said. - We do not receive any offsets, that means nothing will be built, no technologies are provided by the Americans. However, it is also an American system, our existing military in this area operates in the Polish system (...). This is supposedly not co-ordinated at all and this coordination will cost us too - added the publicist.

The cost of the contract is 414 million dollars. The agreement is to be implemented by 2023. In addition to the launcher, the contract also included a provision for the supply of GMLRS missile ammunition (up to 80 km range) and ATACMS (range up to 300 km) and the LCRR training exercise.

At the same time, Romania bought three squadrons. (...) This is a good start if someone really develops this system. If after this purchase they will go next - assesses prof. Daniel Bockowski, adding that if we limit ourselves to this one squadron, the situation will be "how would we set one battery of patriots". - It looks nice, but from the military point of view it does not mean much - he said 10 February 2019.

Professor Daniel Bockowski emphasizes that the purchase planned by the government is "a drop in the whole sea of ??tasks that we have within the framework of NATO.... Because it is also important to be a component to operate within the whole NATO on this eastern flank. And without a doubt, we should go in the direction of Romanian, that is, have at least three squadrons, if we want to have a real deterrent force."

General Jaroslaw Wierzcholski, a former head of missile and artillery forces and 1 Masurian Artillery Brigade in Wegorzewo, emphasizes that by purchasing HIMARS, which will be put into service as Lobsters, we recover the combat potential lost over a dozen years ago. - Introduction to service of HIMARS systems will restore our missile and artillery army's ability to operational destruction, i.e. longer distances that we lost in 2005, when the last sets of 9K79 Toczek with a range of about 70 km were withdrawn from service.

In the future GMLRS is to be upgraded to the GMLRS-ER variant, with a range of 150 kilometers. ATACMS will be complemented and, ultimately, replaced by the newly developed LRPF/PRSM missile, with an advertised range of 499 [?!] kilometers.

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Page last modified: 27-05-2019 18:55:09 ZULU