Top guns: Army to get six state-of-the-art missile defence systems

Between 2019 and 2022, the PGZ-PILICA consortium will deliver six Pilica batteries to the Polish army. PGZ-PILICA

From drones to helicopters, the Pilica missile defence system can tackle them all.

Now Poland’s army is set to receive six of them, in a contract worth 750 million złoty (175 million euros), after the Ministry of Defence gave it the go-ahead last week.

As Poland bolsters its defence capabilities, it is building a multi-layered missile defence system. Purchasing the Pilica is the next step in this process, according to Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), a holding company established by the Polish state, which brings together more than sixty enterprises.

The Pilica is a very short-range missile defence system. Consisting of a double-barrelled 23 mm gun and two short-range Grom-type missiles, it can be used to combat unmanned aerial systems, helicopters, aircraft and manoeuvring missiles.

The Ministry of Defence’s Armaments Inspectorate signed an initial contract for the system, including a logistical and training package, in November 2016.

Antoni Macierewicz, Poland's Minister of Defence at the time, called it “one of the bigger and more important orders for the Polish army.”

The order will include six command stands, 36 fire units and six radiolocation stations. There will also be around 60 vehicles, from artillery tractors to ammunition wagons, to ensure that the system is mobile.Piotr Polak/PAP

An appendix to the contract signed on 31 October signals that the Ministry of Defence has approved the system’s design and that the order can go ahead.  

The system will be built by Zakłady Mechaniczne Tarnów, in south-eastern Poland. The plant traces its history back to 1917, when it was founded as a railway factory. In the 1950s, it started producing military equipment.

Today, it produces a wide range of armaments, including missile defence systems, small arms and mortars. Since 2015, it has been a member of PGZ.

Between 2019 and 2022, the PGZ-PILICA consortium will deliver six Pilica batteries to the Polish army. The order will include six command stands, 36 fire units and six radiolocation stations. There will also be around 60 vehicles, from artillery tractors to ammunition wagons, to ensure that the system is mobile.

The Pilica is designed in a way that allows cooperation with other NATO countries’ command and anti-aircraft systems, PGZ notes.