Poland to proceed with sub-purchase programme this year

Poland will push ahead with a programme to buy submarines this year, the defence minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a defence conference, Mariusz Blaszczak said that "a fully-fledged navy should include not only surface vessels, but also those that can operate secretly underwater."

"We are starting the implementation of the Orka Programme," he continued. "Later this year, we plan to start a procedure aimed at the purchase of submarines along with the transfer of the necessary technology that we want to obtain through an offset order."

The Orka Programme aims to revamp the Polish Navy's submarine fleet, which currently operates one vessel, a Soviet-era craft with limited combat capabilities.

Under the programme Poland will buy two submarines, which could be capable of carrying cruise missiles. Three manufacturers are under consideration to provide the vessels.

Blaszczak added that the defence ministry will soon announce more details on the submarines, their equipment and capabilities.

"We want our submarines to be characterised by the ability to carry out extended missions, a high capacity in terms of carried combat assets and flexibility," he said. "They also have to have advanced stealth capabilities at high speeds, and the ability to remain submerged for a long time."

The acquisition of submarines is a defence ministry priority.

In 2019, Poland negotiated the purchase of submarines from Sweden but the project collapsed after the Swedes rejected the deal.