Patriot System. 2019.

Published on: 2021-03-06
Updated on: 2020-10-25

Kraków 2019-06-14

System Patriot for Poland.

PAC-3. Photo by Lockheed Martin
PAC-3. Photo by Lockheed Martin

The process of exchanging post-Soviet military equipment in Poland is very slow. Only a few contracts have been signed. One of the most important is the contract for the purchase of the MIM-104 Patriot system.

The MIM-104 Patriot system is an American air-to-air missile system on a mobile car platform. MIM-104 was developed as an anti-aircraft system from a hostile attack on medium distances. The system is designed to combat manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, including airplanes and helicopters, as well as missiles (at an appropriate level). The mobility of the system is ensured by road and air transport.

Work on the system began in the USA in 1961. In May 1967, Raytheon was chosen to direct the development of the project, which at that time was labeled SAM-D. The first firing tests of missiles began in November 1969. In 1974, there was a significant change in the way the missile was guided, which should now be guided by the target, not on the basis of data provided by terrestrial radar. This was the result of advances in electronics and the introduction of new air-to-air missiles. This situation resulted in the extension of development work on the system.

At the end of the 70's, the system was marked MIM-104A Patriot. The first contract for the US Army was signed in 1980. The first sets were sent to military units in 1984. Finally, the MIM-104 Patriot system replaced the MIM-14 Nike-Hercules and MIM-23 Hawk systems.

In general, the MIM-104A Patriot system consists of the AN / MSQ-104 command station, AN / MPQ-53 matrix radome and Patriot missile launcher M-901. In fact, the system is very extensive. It can work automatically or command after the data has been worked out. One set keeps track of up to 120 targets and can lead 9 missiles at the same time. Individual system modules are connected with each other by cable, optical fiber or by radio. The system works automatically and extremely quickly. From the moment the target's radar detects the target to the moment of launching the rocket it passes less than 10 seconds. Depending on the configuration, one system can consist of 4 to 8 transport vehicles.

The PAC-3 missile proceeds to the target initially based on the initial data obtained from the radar, and then intercepts the target itself. There is a radiolocator on board of the projectile, so the guidance is radiolocator. The missile constantly communicates with the command post, transferring data to the computer system. The range of the projectile is 3 - 160 km. Up to 25,000 m firewall. The warhead is 90 kg.

The Patriot system had its baptism in 1990, during the Desert Storm, or the First Gulf War. Although it was not without "childhood diseases", out of 53 rockets launched by Saddam Hussein, up to 51 were shot down.

The fifth generation of Patriot systems is now in production. The Patriot system came under the armament of the USA, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Greece, Spain and the UAE.

Patriot for Poland
We know that the US administration has allowed the purchase of batteries in the configuration used by the US military. After which they agreed to sell an even newer version, with the IBCS system, which American troops still do not have. This means the latest possible version.

Talks regarding the purchase of Patriot began with the previous PO-PSL government (Platforma Obywatelska - Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe).

The Polish Patriot system was to be armed with four PAC-3 rockets and three PAC-2 rockets. The PAC-3 rocket weighs about 300 kilograms, but the weight of PAC-2 missiles designed to dispose of missiles and aircraft is about 900 kilograms. During the negotiations, the Polish side gave up the PAC-2 missiles, and showed interest in newer rockets.

A few years ago, experts claimed that a country like Poland needs about 10 batteries of rockets to cover the whole area. The latest information shows that we will need 8 batteries.

During the final negotiations there were significant changes in the requirements of Poland. The Patriot system is part of the "Wisła" program and will be one of the main elements forming the National Air Defense system.

The contract was concluded in March 2018, between the Polish Government and the US Department of Defense. This is the so-called inter-government agreement LOA, signed in the FMS mode. And the US Department of Defense has another deal with Raytheon, which is building this system. The work will be carried out in Andover, Massachusetts, on the White Sands testing ground in New Mexico and in Merrimack, New Hampshire. The works will last until December 31, 2022. Another contract was concluded with Lockheed Martin, which manufactures PAC-3 MSE missiles. The components of the IBCS system are manufactured by Northrop Grumman. In total, 10 agreements were concluded, including domestic ones.

Modern technologies will also enter Poland through a negotiated offset and contracts signed between the companies of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa and Lockheed Martin, worth PLN 724,764,000. These agreements concern the acquisition of the ability to produce selected PAC-3 MSE missile components, production and servicing of their launcher elements.

Poland chose the purchase of two Patriot batteries in the 3+ configuration with the IBCS system. Poland for the Patriot system together with the battlefield management system will pay USD 4 billion 750 million and will be the second country in the world, after the United States, with the most modern Patriot sets with the IBCS system.

The delivery of both IBCS / PATRIOT batteries is planned until the end of 2022, and the initial operational readiness (Initial Operational Capability - IOC) is planned at the turn of 2023 and 2024.

The IBCS system combines elements of the Patriot system and introduces a qualitative leap. Through this the system becomes distracted. There is no central brain, unlike the classic Patriot, the elimination of which harms the entire system. Thanks to the purchase of fully functional ECS positions, the Polish Patriot will also be able to operate in a classical way, being completely immune to possible problems with the operation of the IFCN network and the IBCS system. The IBCS system operates on the foundation of the IFCN network. It allows the system to have no one brain, and those that are, support each other. In the classic Patriot system, the elimination of the brain makes the batteries unable to operate. The IBCS is introducing a new one in this area that the information "from the network" is enough to lead the missile to an enemy target. In addition to the IBCS system, you can connect further elements of the defense system of Poland and its allies. Even those that will be introduced.

The main difference between the Polish Patriot battery with IBCS and the classic Patriot battery is the fact that the Polish battery is larger and can be treated approximately as the equivalent of two batteries. The Polish battery has two AN / MPQ-65 radars, the classic one. Polish battery has 8 launchers and supports up to 96 rounds. The classic battery has 6 launchers with 40-48 missiles.

The presence of two radars in the battery allows not only to create two independent fire elements inside the battery, but also to ensure battery continuity and thus continuity in securing the protected object.

In the second phase of the "Wisła" program, new missiles may be introduced. A passive PET / PCL target detection system is to be introduced. In the second phase, it is planned to move away from the American IFCN networks and replace them with national MCC solutions. Ultimately, the IBCS system will operate based on Polish means of communication. In general, the system is to develop towards the polonization of individual components.

Elements such as radar, radar supply module and launchers will be delivered from the USA to Poland in configuration on trailers and semi-trailers. Jelcz plants are to develop tractors suitable for towing them. Adaptation of tractors includes, among others, matching saddle and compatible installations: electric and pneumatic. It will be a vehicle externally similar to the MS-20 Daglezja bridge tractor. The Polish side did not decide to assemble elements directly on vehicles, as other customers did. They wanted to minimize costs and reduce the risk of problems with foreign cars. Antenna masts for communication with the IFCN network will be delivered on single axle trailers. The Jelcz 4x4 cars will be used for their tugs. Workstations will be placed in a container transported by a Jelcz truck.

We will pay USD 4.75 billion (PLN 16 billion) for 2 batteries. The price is not shocking. We bought sets from IBCS, and it is worth paying for it. You must be aware that we are buying something that is just entering the equipment of the US Army. The two Patriot batteries (four fire units) will include 16 M903 launchers, four radars and four command positions. In the first phase, the Ministry of Defense purchases 208 PAC-3 MSE missiles (each for about 5-6 million dollars). IBCS includes, among others, 6 Engagement Operations Center stations and 12 IFCN radiolines. The first Patriot missiles will reach Poland in 2022.

The offset agreement is worth about 1 billion dollars and will last for 10 years. Polish companies are to participate in the production and servicing of launchers designed for PAC-3 MSE missiles. The Poles will also produce selected elements of these missiles and they already do so. The agreement also provides for the construction of a laboratory for testing these missiles, as well as the capabilities associated with maintaining the Lockheed Martin F-16 Hawk aircraft.

Of course, the government opposition does not leave a dry thread on the signed contract. They feel that technology transfer will be at the level of PLN 950 million, and it will be PLN 700 million, which will go to the Polish Industry. The offset is at 20%, while initially it was to be 50%. It is worth remembering, however, that in 2017, the Americans signaled that the maximum price could amount to 10 billion dollars, which is more than a half of the price.

It is true that we will get directional radars (180 degrees), not 360 degrees around. External radars will only be available in the next stage of the "Wisła" program.

The opposition claims that for a year the Ministry of Defense assured Poles that PLN 30 billion should be enough to purchase 8 Patriot batteries. Now we will buy two for PLN 16 billion. This type of statement is simply a lie. Poland buys two batteries, but is equivalent to four classic Patriot batteries and without an IBCS system. Therefore, the price is comparable.

Let's also remember that previous Polish Governments would not do much to speed up the entire process of choosing such a system. The more so because no other country offers a better anti-aircraft defense system.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman