Poland Beefs-up Air Defences

The Polish Government took steps to further strengthen its air defences with its announcement on April 28th of award of a contract to MBDA for additional batteries of its Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) air defence missile system.

With a reported value of £1.9 billion (US$2.4-billion) the procurement, according to the Polish acquisition agency, covers the delivery of “forty-four iLaunchers and several hundred CAMM missiles as well as accompanying equipment.” This will allow for the establishment of twenty-two air defence missile batteries. First CAMM deliveries under the contact will begin in 2025.

The MBDA contract complements a second contact worth 3 billion zloty (US$7.2 million) to the Polish defence consortium PCZ which will both supply sixteen new Pilica+ batteries and upgrade six currently fielded batteries. PCZ is the designated integrator of the CAMMs launchers and missile into the Pilica+ which is referred to as Narew. The CAMM was selected as the Narew ground-based air defence missile in November 2021. Two CAMM systems were then acquired in April 2022 to equip one initial battery with six ilaunchers, two ZDPSR Sola radar, command and control, plus Polish transport vehicles. This battery became operational in October 2022.

CAMM can engage targets between a minimum range of less than one km and a maximum range greater than twenty-five km. It has a supersonic speed of Mach 3 (or 1,020 meters per second).

Its Soft Vertical Launch offer 360 degree coverage while it has its own Active RF seeker and two-way datalink. According to MBDA a major benefit of CAMM is its high rate of fire against multiple simultaneous targets. An extended range CAMM-ER (extended range variant) with a forty-five km range that shares the same characteristics of the original CAMM with a new Avio engine is in development.

Pilica+ is a triple-layer air defence system that includes an upper-tier provided by the Patriot, mid-tier by Narew with CAMM, and Polish developed and manufactured lower tier air defence autocannon and very short range air defence missiles such as the SPZR Poprad. PGZ president Sebastian Chwalek stated, “The Pilica+ complements the multi-layer anti-aircraft and anti-missile protection of the Polish skies which is being developed by the military,”. He added, “The war in Ukraine demonstrates how important the lowest layer of the anti-missile shield is, as it allows to efficiently strike, among others, unmanned aerial vehicles.”

by Stephen W. Miller