British defence companies win contracts from Polish Navy for state-of-the-art frigate fleet

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Photographer: LPhot Bill Spurr Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023 - MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

The UK Government has welcomed deals between three of the UK’s largest defence contractors and the Polish Navy. 

The Polish Navy’s Miecznik (“Swordfish” in Polish) frigates programme will now begin its next phase of development.  

An agreement between MBDA UK and the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) was signed on Friday (12th January). This is the third of PGZ’s contracts with UK companies under the Miecznik programme, following agreements with Babcock and Thales UK. The first of the three multi-mission frigates is expected to enter service in 2029.

Investment Minister Lord Dominic Johnson said:

Our defence exports are good for the economy and boost investment and jobs across the country.

This agreement is a major vote of confidence in our world-class industrial expertise. Poland is a key partner for the UK, and this partnership will further strengthen the Polish fleet by putting some of the best UK capabilities behind it.

Lord Johnson. Photo credit: UK Gov – Creative Commons License

The UK government has supported negotiations for a series of strategic agreements between three major UK defence companies and the Polish Armaments Group.  

UK Defence and Security Exports (UKDSE), part of the UK Department for Business and Trade, has been a key player in facilitating and securing these deals, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy. The aim is to strengthen long-term economic and defence cooperation between the two countries and support the UK’s competitive export offer. 

These agreements mean the frigates will be built in Poland with substantial transfers of technology and skills, boosting the economic security of a key NATO ally.  

Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge said:

It is a testament to our outstanding defence industry that our key NATO ally has chosen warships based on the AH140 design – a design utilised by the Type 31 Frigates soon to be in service with the Royal Navy. The ships will enhance the Polish fleet, bolster NATO capabilities and support interoperability between the UK and Poland.

These agreements are also another example of the very close working relationship we have with our Polish counterparts, building on our progress in many areas of defence.

Each company plays a crucial role in the Polish frigate programme as a partner of the Miecznik consortium led by PGZ.  

Through a design licence agreement for its Arrowhead 140 frigate, Babcock is the platform design provider and strategic technology partner. The company is also a key part of the Programme Management Office which oversees design and construction of the ships. 

Thales UK will equip the frigates with the TACTICOS combat management system, sensors and radars, while MBDA UK will provide its Sea Ceptor naval air defence system, which will be equipped with CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile) family missiles that have been recently procured by Poland for ground-based air defence.

Source: Department for Business and TradeMinistry of DefenceLord Johnson, and James Cartlidge MP

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