Poland pledges €43 billion defence spend

Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak has announced a Technical Modernization Plan (TMP) for updating Poland’s armed forces up to 2026. In 2017 the nation was one of only eight NATO members to spend more than 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence and the plan continues that trend.

Aimed chiefly at strengthening Poland’s defences on its eastern Russian-facing flank, the TMP includes many aviation related programmes. One of the main planks of the plan, the Harpia programme, calls for the acquisition of 32 fifthgeneration multi-role aircraft to provide an anti-access, area-denial network-centric capability to work with other components of allied forces. Under the Kruk programme Poland will buy a modern attack helicopter. An initial tranche of three machines must be delivered before 2022 for crew training and the rest by 2035. Airbus Helicopters/Heli Invest are offering the EC665 Tiger; Turkish Aerospace Industries and WSK PZLŚwidnik the T129, and Bell Helicopter and Boeing are promoting the AH-1Z and AH-64E in conjunction with the US government. Leonardo proposes the AW249 presently being developed for Italy’s army.

Up to 200 UAVs of different sizes and capabilities, many of which will be optimised for operations in urban environments, are to be obtained under the Gryf and Ważka programmes. The Flame programme consolidates existing plans to purchase maritime patrol and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

The minister’s announcement confirms Poland’s commitment to continue to meet its fiscal responsibilities to NATO and to spend 2.5% of GDP on defence annually from 2030. Preparations are underway for the next TMP up to 2034.