Govt. puts out tenders for private companies to develop security

Over the past two years the Polish industry has won 160 projects to modernise the equipment of the armed forces. Piotr Polak/PAP

The government’s research and development agency has announced tenders for 33 defence and security-related projects.

The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), which has a PLN 5 billion (EUR 1.168 billion) war chest to spend on supporting innovation in the Polish economy, has declared a willingness to finance up to 100% of the value of the projects though the higher a bidder’s own contribution, the higher their chances.

The projects relate to homeland security, administration and intelligence, including seven projects in the field of cybersecurity and several others focusing on border security.

The NCBR was set up in 2009 by the ministry of science and higher education in a bid to support innovation by Poland’s corporate sector, and by small and medium-sized companies in particular.

“Polish companies have a massive latent potential,” Science Minister Jarosław Gowin said at a recent press conference. “At the same time, the administration is becoming more and more and more friendly and open to the needs of enterprises. That is what the NCBR is for.”

The Law and Justice (PiS) government has emphasised its desire to develop the nation’s defence industry. Over the past two years, the Ministry of Defence has said, the Polish industry has won 160 projects to modernise the equipment of the armed forces, worth a combined PLN 13 billion (EUR 3.036 billion) out of a total of 250 projects, valued at a total of PLN 20 billion (EUR 4.672 billion).

Still Polish defence exports, at EUR 389 million in 2017, amounted to a mere third of peak sales under Communism and placed the country behind such competitors as Belarus and Bulgaria.

Exports also accounted to little more than 10% of the total sales of the defence industry. The government’s long-term target is to raise that figure to 70%, which would allow for a complete elimination of subsidies the industry needs now to supply the needs of the Polish armed forces.