[NEWS] Polish Defence Review & 5-Year Defence Plan

The Polish Defence Review Board has published its findings in a new report entitled “Defence and Security in an Unstable World”. The following actions were recommended:

Changes to conditions of service

  • Starting pay for privates will be increased to 2,500 zloty per month

  • A bonus of 250 zloty per month will be granted to those who sign on for a third tour of duty abroad or more

  • Junior ranks will get a 20% pay increase, NCOs 15%, Junior Officers 10%, Field Officers and Generals 5%, effective 2024 onwards

  • Personnel will be eligible for a pension after 15 years of service instead of the previous 20, pensions will be calculated at 50% of their last salary, plus 250 zloty for every year of service over 15

  • All medical related medical expenses will be paid for by the state for all those who have been injured whilst on duty

  • Those who have been disabled whilst serving will be automatically eligible for a military pension, in addition to a 750 zloty disability allowance per month

  • Enlisted personnel who have served for three or more years will be eligible for a new “Military Educational Fund”, under which the government will fund 20-60% of their post-secondary education depending on the service member’s rank, service time, financial ability, and the institution and course to which they apply.

  • A small bonus of 100 zloty per month will be given to winners of the Military Cross, Cross of Valour, Cross of Merit for Bravery and Gold Cross of Merit with Swords. Winners of multiple awards of the same decoration or of more than one of the listed decorations will be granted a maximum of up to 500 zloty per month

  • Widows and/or dependents of service personnel will be entitled to their deceased spouse’s/supporters full pension for up to 10 years. Any children under the age of 18 of soldiers killed in active service will have all education expenses paid for by the state, as well as the right to a a place at a service academy of their choosing

Insignia changes

  • New rank insignia will be introduced to reduce the confusion created due to the continuation of former Soviet rank styles and be more aligned with prevalent NATO systems

  • Subaltern ranks will be represented by a bar underneath between one and three stars, replacing the former system where second lieutenants wore two, lieutenants three, and captains four stars, a relic of the Communist era

  • Młodszy chorążys will wear three downward-pointing chevrons on their shoulder boards rather than the previous insignia of one downwards pointing chevron and star

  • Starszy chorąży sztabowys will wear three stars instead of four

  • Junior naval officers will wear one fewer stripe than before with Ensigns wearing only the executive curl

  • Insignia for naval ratings will be changed along similar lines to the other services, with gaps in the number of stars or chevrons caused by the elimination of ranks closed by changes in the insignia of remaining ranks

Doctrine & Armed Forces Level changes

The Board has published a comprehensive review of Poland’s current strategy and policy, and has proposed a re-appraisal of the role and mission of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland. The new doctrine proposed by the Board, named “Integrated Defence”, consists of the following key changes to existing doctrine:

-The biggest threat to Poland’s security, and the focus of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, will be a defence against a conventional military attack and/or invasion of Poland, in conjunction with state-sponsored insurgent groups

  • The Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland must be able to operate both independently and with NATO partners. Should a full-scale invasion of Poland occur, the Armed Forces must be able to hold out for at least six months

  • The five branches of the armed forces (Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, Special Forces and Territorial Defence Force), along with the Military Gendarmerie, will operate under a joint command structure in wartime, which will be facilitated by adoption of a uniform rank structure and order of precedence, as to avoid unclear chains of command. When mobilised, the Armed Forces will be organised into “Operational Groups”, each of which will function as a joint headquarters similar to the US Combatant Commands, headed by a three-star officer from any of the Armed Forces

  • The Territorial Defence Force will be charged with acting as a “tripwire” force, being the first military force on the scene and responsible for the immediate defence of border areas, in close cooperation with local border guards and police in using delaying tactics to give the regular forces time to mobilise.

  • Mobilisation will involve the Rapid Reaction Force and local units being deployed first to stabilise the front and launch limited counter-attacks, whilst heavier armoured units are redeployed from their bases

  • Once the regular forces have arrived on the scene, the local Territorial Defence Force units, given their knowledge and expertise of the area of operations, will be tasked primarily with reconnaissance and surveillance of enemy forces, as well as harassing attacks, in conjunction with operations conducted by regular forces. The TDF will be integrated into the Land Force’s command structure as per the previous points, with TDF units coopted into larger Land Forces units as needed

  • In order to deal with the type of hybrid warfare seen in Eastern Ukraine, the TDF will be given extensive light infantry and counter-insurgency training and will, along with the Military Gendarmerie and Border Guard, form “Area Protection Brigades”, responsible for dealing with any armed groups that may have been created with enemy support and mentoring. Inter-operability between the three organisations will be ensured through extensive cross-training and cross-posting of officers between the three forces.

  • Once frontlines have stabilised or rear areas been pacified, any TDF units based in areas far away from the combat zone will be fully co-opted as Army Reserve units and redeployed as such, unless there is sufficient threat of “insurgent” groups in their area of responsibility

  • The Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland will maintain their current dual missions of defending Poland’s borders and supporting NATO and UN missions worldwide

  • Assuming NATO assistance is forthcoming, Multinational Corps Northeast will be the lead headquarters and will be integrated into the command chain as a separate, corps-level command with administrative support and Polish liaison officers, unless otherwise agreed upon with NATO partners

  • The forward deployed NATO battlegroup will come under control of the 1st “Warsaw” Armoured Brigade

  • A Joint Electronic Warfare & Intelligence Command will be established, under the direct command of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, headed by a two-star officer rotating between the branches. The JEWIC will be responsible for all SIGINT and ELINT operations, for ensuring protection of communications from enemy jamming and other EW operations, and for jamming and disrupting enemy operations

  • Officer Candidate Schools will be set up for the training of enlisted personnel and NCOs who have completed post-secondary education at an institution recognised by the Armed Forces or who have shown leadership qualities that warrant a place at OCS. OCS courses will last 24 weeks, upon which graduates will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants or Ensigns. Senior NCOs (E-7 and above) who have served for more than 15 years who attend OCS will attend an abridged 16 week course, after which they will be commissioned instead as a Captain or a Lieutenant

Land Forces

  • The Polish Land Forces will be increased in size to a total of 95,000 men by 2027, up from the current strength of 77,000

  • A fourth combat division will be raised, to be designated the 9th Mechanized, which will consist of the already existing 12th and 17th Mechanized Brigades, and a new brigade, the 25th Mechanized. The division and its constituent brigades will be equipped with variants of the KTO Rosomak, operating on a similar concept to the US Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Additional variants of the Rosomak will be fielded to support such operations, in particular a MGS system for fire support

  • The 1st Tank Battalion of the 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade will be transferred to the 1st “Warsaw” Armoured Brigade. The Podhale Rifles’ BWP-1s will also be transferred to other units, with the Podhale Rifles being re-roled as an elite light infantry force. In the same vein, the Brigade’s attached 14th Artillery Group will be re-equipped with newly-sourced towed guns for greater strategic mobility. In addition, the brigade will gain its own reconnaissance company.

  • The Krakow-based 6th Airborne Brigade will be increased significantly in size, with its own reconnaissance company (including pathfinder platoon), artillery battalion (to be equipped with towed guns), signal company, engineer battalion, and other support units, allowing the brigade to sustain operations independently for much longer than currently structured

  • The 25th Air Cavalry Brigade will gain an additional maneuver battalion, the 18th Uhlans, and support units similar to the 6th Airborne brigade to allow the unit to conduct independent operations

  • A new “Rapid Reaction Force” will be created as a headquarters unit for the 6th Airborne, 21st Podhale Rifles, and 25th Air Cavalry Brigades. Commanded by a two-star general, the RRF will act as the Polish Land Forces strategic reserve and rapid reaction force, maintained at high readiness, and capable of deploying one of three brigades within 48-72 hours

  • All existing Armoured Cavalry Brigades will gain an additional mechanized infantry battalion, and all three Armoured Cavalry Brigades shall be subordinated to the 11th Armoured Cavalry Division

  • Armoured Cavalry and Armoured Brigades will have their reconnaissance and engineer companies expanded into fully fledged battalions, along with organic signal, medical, maintenance and other support units to allow them to operate independently of divisional headquarters

  • An additional mechanized infantry brigade, the 32nd, equipped with BWP-1s will be raised in the 12th Mechanized Division, using vehicles transferred from the 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade

  • All brigades not previously mentioned will be assigned new engineer, medical, maintenance, logistic and signals battalions or companies to allow them to sustain operations independent of divisional headquarters as well

  • Army Aviation will receive a significant increase in resources and size. A new type of unit, the Combined Aviation Regiment (CAR), will be introduced, with one to be attached to each division. Each CAR will consist of four squadrons of sixteen helicopters each and a UAV company, with each CAR consisting of one attack squadron of 12 Tigres, one transport squadron with 16 H225M Caracals, two squadrons with 24 W-3PL Głuszec, and a UAV company with 15 Orbiters. Mi-8s and Mi-24s will gradually be replaced and transferred to reserve or put into storage for potential reactivation.

  • 1st Aviation Brigade will be reorganised as part of the Rapid Reaction Force and will incorporate the former 1st and 7th Aviation Groups. The Mi-2 equipped squadrons will be subordinated to a new School of Army Aviation, reporting directly to the Training Command. Unlike the CARs, 1st Aviation Brigade will consist of six squadrons and a UAV company, three attack squadrons with 36 Tigres, two transport squadrons with 32 H225M, one heavy transport squadron with 12 CH-47F Super Chinooks, and a reinforced UAV company with 24 Orbiter UAVs

  • The standard MBT will be the PT-16, which will be powered by a license-produced MTU MB-837 Ka501 1,500hp multi-fuel diesel. All 233 PT-91s and 120 T-72M1s will be upgraded to this variant, along with new production vehicles for a total fleet of approximately 400

  • All Leopard 2A4s will be upgrade to 2PL standard

  • The BWP-1 fleet will be replaced by the WPB Anders, with a like-for-like replacement planned

  • The Army’s training system will be changed. Basic Training will last 16 weeks, up from 9, with additional unarmed and hand-to-hand combat training, English lessons to improve interoperability with NATO partners, additional small-unit tactics training, CQB and urban warfare training, and basic unconventional warfare training

  • The three independent reconnaissance regiments will instead be subordinated to each of the three existing divisions, with new regiments raised for the RRF and the new division

  • Armoured and Mechanized brigades with tracked IFVs will be assigned 24 AHS Krabs in the brigade artillery battalion, whilst the KTO Rosomak-equipped 9th Mechanized division and its subordinate brigades will have 24 AHS Kryl instead

  • All former Soviet artillery pieces will be replaced with Krabs or Kryls

  • The RRF’s artillery will consist of 72 M777A2 Howitzers in three battalions

  • All BM-21 Grads will be modernised to the WR-40 Langusta standard, with each division bar the RRF to be equipped with 48 in two battalions as part of the divisional artillery regiment

Air Force

  • A number of ground based radar stations will be set up, with the initial plan calling for six stations, equipped with AN/FPS-117 AESA radars, including one facing Kaliningrad enclave

  • A replacement for the Su-22 will be sought, due to the fleet’s advanced age and increasing obsolescence, with a contract for 24 aircraft and an option for 12 more. Tenders from all interested firms will be welcome

  • A Quick Reaction Alert will be maintained by the 22nd and 23rd Tactical Air Bases at Mińsk Mazowiecki and Malbork, each consisting of a pair of MiG-29s

  • The Air Force’s fleet of F-16 C/D Block 52+s will be upgraded with an IRST system, the newer JHMCS II helmet-mounted sight, a new AESA radar, new nose-mounted EOTS, larger, colour cockpit MFDs, and an upgraded fiber-optic databus for increased processing speed

  • An additional 12 F-16Cs and 20 F-16Ds will be acquired from surplus US stocks and upgraded to the same standard

  • The Air Force’s 32 MiG-29s will be upgraded with new avionics, an all-new glass cockpit including a MIL-STD-1773 fibre optic databus, new colour LCD Multi-flight displays, fly-by-wire controls, improved IRST, integration with both NATO and Russian weaponry, in-flight refuelling probe and airframe overhaul to extend service life.

  • A competition will be held to decide upon an AEW&C aircraft, a capability which the Polish Air Force currently lacks. 4 aircraft will be acquired as part of the contract, with an option for two more.

  • 4 Airbus A330 MRTT tankers will be acquired to give the force an aerial refuelling capability. These will have both a centreline boom and a wing-mounted probes

  • The Air Force’s 5 C-130Es will be retired from service

  • Airlift capability will be significantly increased through two new programs for a medium and heavy airlift capability. The former will essentially find a replacement for the C-130Es, of which up to 20 will procured, with an option to license producing some within Poland. The latter will seek to acquire up to 6 airlifters capable of at least a 50 tonne payload. Again, a license produced option may be considered

  • 8 EADS CASA C-295Ws will be purchased, and the existing fleet of 16 C-295Ms upgraded to the same standard. 6 of the AC-295 gunship variant will also be purchased.

  • The PZL TS-11 Iskra will be replaced by a more modern advanced jet trainer, of which 30 to 40 will be procured. Foreign options will be considered as well as a public-private partnership to operate the aircraft

  • All 17 existing PZL-130 Orliks will be upgrade to Orlik MPT standard, and an additional 23 brought out of storage, refurbished and upgraded to the same level

  • 10 T-44C Pegasus multi-engine trainers will be sourced from the US

  • 8 additional M-346 Lead-in fighter trainers will be acquired

Navy

  • The Navy's role in the event of war will be to contain and delay and enemy fleet for as long as possible, with the assumption being that help shall be forthcoming from NATO

  • Up to 4 new frigates will be acquired in the 4,000-6,000 tonnes range

  • The Gawron-class corvette project will be reinstated, with an order for 10 placed

  • New Anti-Submarine Helicopters will be acquired for the ships, to be decided by competition

  • Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be sourced to provide additional security for Poland’s territorial waters

  • Up to 3 new submarines will be acquired to replace the ancient Kobben-class vessels

  • New SAR helicopters will be purchased

[m] I'll sort out what I'm buying from who later, really knackered right now [m]

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