Polish army to buy more Piorun anti-aircraft missiles

On Thursday, Mariusz Blaszczak, the defence minister, signed an annex to a purchase contract from 2016, which increases the number of Piorun anti-aircraft missile systems ordered for the Polish Army. Piotr Nowak/PAP

The Defence Ministry will increase an order for the man-portable Piorun surface-to-air missiles owing to the weapon proving its effectiveness in the Russia-Ukraine war.

The system is produced by the Polish company Mesko.

On Thursday, Mariusz Blaszczak, the defence minister, signed an annex to a purchase contract from 2016, which increases the number of Piorun anti-aircraft missile systems ordered for the Polish Army.

"I have just approved the contract to equip the Polish Army with 3,500 missiles and 600 launch mechanisms for the Piorun anti-aircraft system," he said.

In 2016, the Polish army ordered 1,300 Piorun missiles and 420 launchers for PLN 932 million (EUR 198 million).

Blaszczak added he had made the decision to increase the order amid the challenges Poland faces due to the Ukraine war and "after it turned out that the Ukrainians are effectively defending themselves against the Russian invasion by using these weapons."

He said that additional systems would be delivered to Polish troops "this year" as "it is required by the international situation."

"So that the Kremlin authorities, the empire of evil that is being recreated in front of our eyes, would not dare to attack Poland and the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance," Blaszczak added.

Piorun (Thunderbolt) is an infrared-guided missile designed to destroy low-flying aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. It can hit targets flying at altitudes ranging from 10 metres to 4 kilometres.

Poland has provided Ukraine with an undisclosed number of Pioruns since Russia invaded the country on February 24. The Ukrainian army has posted a number of videos showing Pioruns destroying Russian aircraft.

The missiles are also liked by the US Army, which will buy several hundred of them.