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HIMARS for Poland

On the 13thof February 2019, in the presence of Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland and Michael Pence, Vice-President of the United States of America, Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak signed an international contract concerning procurement of the M142 HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

Polish organization will be like that of American HIMARS battalion, each launcher should be joined with a one Resupply Vehicle and an ammunition Cargo Trailer. This is the organization structure used by the US Marine Corps / Photo: North Carolina National Guard

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) governed contract is worth USD 414 million (USD 512 million with VAT). The contract was first announced on the 8thof February. As Polish MoD informed included are: 20 of M142 launchers (2 destined for training), command vehicles, ammunition carriers and tractors, logistic vehicles, and an undisclosed number of missiles

The contract concerns purchase of the first long range missile artillery battalion and is a part of the Homar program. Equipment will be delivered and used in configuration like one used by the American armed forces. Deliveries are to conclude in 2023. All vehicles and launchers procured by Poland will be manufactured in the United States. Deliveries related to Homar program should conclude by December 2023 and the firing unit will reach operational readiness at the turn 2024 and 2025.

Analysis
Contrary to most FMF queries sent by American Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to Congress, Polish is a bit misleading. The list of equipment to procure does not contain logistical vehicles. According to the Polish Armament Inspectorate, Americans included these in the following statement: …and other related elements of logistics and program support. This is a bit confusing. Usually, such queries from DSCA contain an exact list of elements included.

But the Armament Inspectorate confirmed that the Polish unit will contain 18 of M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers (out of 20 purchased), 18 of M1084A1P2 Resupply Vehicles (RSV; Out of 19 ordered), 18 M1095 MTT MTV trailers, and 3 M1089A1P2 evacuation vehicles. A dozen or so of the command variants of M1151A1 HMMWV (Polish designation Tumak) armored vehicles will complete the unit. Currently, there is no information on exact numbers but it will be more than 12.

Polish organization will be like that of American HIMARS battalion, each launcher should be joined with a one Resupply Vehicle and an ammunition Cargo Trailer. This is the organization structure used by the US Marine Corps. Formation will be split into 3 batteries. Each battery will have 6 launchers, 6 RSV with trailers, and 1 evacuation vehicle. 

Two of M142, one M1084A1P2 RSV, and one M1151A1 command variant will be used for training is Torun-based CSAiU training center. Vehicles will be used for crew training and will also serve as reserves in case other vehicles get damaged or destroyed.

MILMAG also received confirmation on ordered missile quantities. Armament Inspectorate informed us that Poland is procuring 277 of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles. These have 15-84 km range and come in 6-tube launch containers. The 227 mm missiles have a service life of 10 years until an extending test is required. The 45 containers are split between 216 of M31 GMLRS-U (Unitary) missiles (36 containers) and 54 of M30A1 GMLRS AW (Alternative Warhead) missiles. 

M31 GMLRS-U missile was introduced in 2005. It has an 89 kg high explosive/shrapnel warhead manufactured by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical System. It`s guided by GPS-corrected dead reckoning system. The fuse is 2-system: point impact or delay. The new M31A1 also has an airburst fuse. M31 GMLRS AW became operational in 2015 and has 89 kg warhead equipped with insensitive munition explosive containing 160.000 of ready-made shrapnel. The guidance system remains the same. It`s used for attacking enemy batteries, air-defense systems, command locations and other targets of high importance. Ninety percent of GMLRS type missiles are compatible between variants.

Poland is also procuring 30 of 610-mm ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles. Each is located on 1 launch container and has a range of 70-300 km. Polish artillerymen chose the M57 ATACMS-U (Unitary) export model with 221-kg WDU-18/B warhead, same as in AGM-84E Harpoon missiles. Polish warheads will probably be equipped with airburst and point impact combination fuses.

Soldiers will also receive twenty of 227-mm Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practise Rockets. These have a range of 7,5-14,3 km range and serve as GMLRS training missiles. LCRR have the same engines but the guidance and warhead systems are removed. M28A1 have a special shape to reduce the range below 15 km. Missiles have a smoke system to signal the impact point and can also be used for handling, storing and transport training.

Twenty of M68A2 MLPA (Multiple Launcher Pod Assembly) crew training containers is also a part of the purchase. These are an exact equivalent of M142 launch pods and allow activation of M142 HIMARS built-in training software.

Current users of M142 HIMARS system include Jordanian, Singapore, USA and UAE. Romania also ordered 54 of M142 launchers together with 81 containers of GMLRS M31A1 Unitary (486 missiles), 81 containers of GMLRS M30A1 Alternative Warhead (486 missiles), 54 of ATACMS M57 Unitary missiles, and 30 of LCRR missiles.

 

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