180904 ukr polUkraine and Poland have in the past few years been actively and closely engaged in jointly developing new types of weaponry and equipment. Examples are the RT-17 MBT upgrade, ZRN-01 Stokrotka MLRS, and Sokil Mobile Combat-Capable UAS to name a few, including development and production projects for the light ATGM Weapons System Pirat and different caliber precision-guided munitions.

 

Pirat ATGM Weapons System

              

Reports of Poland developing a new anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system, the Pirat were first released publicly by Jane's Defence Weekly back in 2014. The reports said that Mesko company of Poland’s State-owned defense industries group Polski Holding Obronny, which is responsible for production of Grom man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and for licensed assembly of Rafael Spike-LR ATGMs, was developing a new lightweight laser homing ATGM and launcher for the Polish army.

 

In developing the Pirat ATGM, Mesko has since 2011 been closely engaged with Ukrainian companies, among others DKKB Luch Design & Development Company of the State-owned Ukroboronprom defense industries holding group. The Polish ATGM design is effectively a derivative of the Luch Korsar R-3 laser beam homing ATGM. Luch reported through its Facebook page in late 2016 that Pirat ATGM was being developed in two versions – one for dismounted infantry and the other for combat-capable UAVs.

 

The infantry version, Pirat 1 is being designed with a maximum range of 2,500 m and with three options for 2.5-kg warhead -- armor piercing, thermobaric and high explosive fragmentation. Pirat ATGM leaked specifications suggest a missile mass of 10 kg and body diameter of 107 mm. It will be launched from a 1180 mm long transport/launch canister (TLC) weighing 15 kg when loaded with a missile.

 

The Pirat 1 ATGM will be complemented by a sighting system integrating daylight sight, day/night thermal imaging sight, laser designator, digital compass, and GPS capabilities. The missile is designed with a maximum flight time of 12 seconds and armor piercing capability of 550 mm RHA behind ERA.

 

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Pirat anti-tank guided missile

 

The Pirat 1 missile and launcher will come with features that include: portability by a single personnel; user friendly and cost effective design; very short reaction time; near fire-and-forget capability (albeit target illumination by a laser beam will be required); short time between launches at targets illuminated in sequence by Laser Designator operator.

 

The Pirat 2, which will provide the features similar to the Pirat 1’s, is a light short-range ATGM weapons system with manually launched missile that will be self guided after launch following the target-reflected laser beam trajectory. The Pirat 2 design is based upon experience Polish companies had acquired in developing the Grom MANPADS technology. The missile will have the same maximum range of 2,500 m as the Pirat 1 version, but with time-to-target at the longest range shortened from 12 seconds down to 5.5 seconds, and will be used for defeating soft targets with its high explosive warhead of a proprietary design.

 

A mockup of the 2 km range, shoulder-launched Pirat ATGM was showcased for the first time at the 2016 MSPO defense trade fair in Kielce, Poland.

 

The Pirat weapons system continues to be in development. The most recent report dates to November 2017, when importgenius.com reported that the Polish company MESKO S.A. had bought 5 equipment kits for the Pirat ATGM weapons system from Ukraine, in a deal forged through DK Ukrspecexport.

 

Laser-Guided Munitions

 

Ukraine and Poland have also cooperated in developing laser-beam homing gun launched projectiles. As reported previously, Polish Ministry of National Defense had decided on developing, manufacturing and fielding the new self-propelled 155-mm Krab and Kryl gun howitzers and the self-propelled 120-mm Rak mortar system as part of its artillery/missile capability modernization program. First batteries of said systems are already being fielded with the Polish Armed Forces. Thus, the first battery of production-standard 120-mm Rak mortars was fielded by Międzyrzecze-based 17th Great Poland Mechanized Brigade in June 2017 and, in August 2017, an initial shipment of 24 Krab howitzers arrived to the 11th Mazury Artillery Regiment stationed in Wegorzewo. Although the aforementioned gun systems are currently used with ordinary projectiles, a program on development and production of precision-guided munitions and a laser designator capability has been launched to proceed in parallel with production of the classiс projectile types. By one count, the use of precision laser guided artillery/mortar projectiles allows for reducing the firing mission time by a factor of 10 to 15, which makes a self-propelled gun system more suited for the shoot-and-scoot tactic and thus contributes to its survivability on the battlefield. With the precision-guided munitions, it requires an average of 50 times less amount of ammo to engage and destroy a given point target than with the ordinary gun rounds.

 

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Laser-guided seeker for a 155 mm gun launched projectile 

 

The Polish company CRW Telesystem-Mesko has played a particularly important role in developing and manufacturing precision-guided munitions and the Laser Designator capability. In September 2012, it agreed with ex-Bumar Amunicja to do R&D under Laser-Guided Seeker development and production programs, especially for the 120 mm Rak (ARP 120) mortar and the 155 mm self-propelled Krab i Kryl (ARP 155) howitzers. It also undertook to integrate the Laser Designator capability into the Firing Squad Synchronization System and to develop a software package for the Krab and Kryl howitzers.

 

Due to the lack of the required in-country experience and expertise, Poland decided to adopt Ukrainian solutions for its ATGM development programs. Thus, the design of the precision-guided APR 120 mortar round has been derived from a counterpart developed by DKKB Luch, Kyiv, and ARP 155 from the 152 mm “Kvitnyk” projectile developed by Nizhyn-based TsKB Tochnist Design & Development Company of the Progress R&D and Production Corporation.

 

The outputs of these successful collaborations were revealed at the 2016 MSPO defense industry show in Kielce, Poland, where the general public was introduced to a 120 mm laser-guided mortar projectile offering a maximum range of 8 km (with a jet engine, this can be extended to 12 km) and a self-propelled 155 mm gun launched laser-guided projectile capable of ranges up to 20 km (30 km objective). Both are equipped with a laser guidance capability and fins for steering the heading of the missile. Aiming is assisted via the Polish-developed LPC-1 Laser Designator capable of ranges of up to 5 km from the LPC-1 operator. With its built-in Laser Rangefinding capability, the LPC-1 might be also used for measuring distances from 200 m to 20 km.

 

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LPC-1 Laser Designator

 

The Ukrainian-Polish consolidated, collaborative effort involving the use of innovative approaches and advanced DKKB Luch technologies has resulted in the emergence of highly capable, versatile weapons systems that meet the requirements of today and tomorrow.

 

Olexa DJURA,

For Ukrainian Defense Review

 

Read the article and more details in Ukrainian: ОБ’ЄДНУЮЧИ ЗУСИЛЛЯ

 

Read more in Ukrainian Defense Review by Defense Express Media &Consulting Company

 

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UKRAINE-POLAND MILITARY TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION – WITH A SURE FOOTING

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