More details on the new Polish Mièçznick frigates

On March 4, when the media attention was entirely focused on the fighting in Ukraine, Warsaw announced the winner of the competition aimed at designing and manufacturing 3 new frigates and replacing the two OH Perry type frigates acquired second-hand from the US Navy, and who joined the Polish Navy in the early 2000s. It was the British Babcock, associated with the shipyards PGZ Stocznia Wojenna and Remontowa Shipbuilding SA, as well as Thales and MBDA, who won the competition against the Meko 300 of the German Thyssenkrupp. The model selected by Warsaw is the Arrowhead 140, on which is based the new frigate coming Type 31 of the Royal Navy, and which presents, as main argument, an excellent call price for dimensions and a significant tonnage, offering a great flexibility in the choice and the configuration of the equipment and armaments which can be embarked.

On April 8, the PGZ Mièçznick consortium, bringing together all the industrialists involved in this program, aptly named Mièçznick (swordfish), presented the configuration chosen for these 3 frigates. 138,7 meters long and 19,7 meters wide, the Mièçznicks will reach a displacement of 7000 tonnes, twice as much as the OH Perrys that they will replace. They will be armed with a 76mm cannon, 4 subsonic RBS-15 MkIII quadruple anti-ship missile launchers from Swedish Saab Bofors Dynamiques with a range of 200 km, as well as 4 Vertical Launch Systems, or VLS, Mk41 aligning a total of 32 vertical silos. Although capable of using American ESSM or SM2 missiles, Warsaw preferred to turn to MBDA's CAMM to arm its silos, the anti-aircraft missile which will also equip the Royal Navy's Type 31s. With a range of 25 km (45 km in its Extended Range version), the CAMM is designed to engage aerial targets flying up to Mach 4, and is an excellent alternative to counter modern anti-ship missiles like the Onyx. Russian, although it does not seem to be able to counter hypersonic missiles exceeding the speed of Mach 5. In addition, like the American ESSM, it too can be ensiled by 4 in a single silo, giving each Polish frigate a potential of 128 autonomous, high-performance anti-aircraft missiles to respond to saturation attacks.

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Sea Ceptor / CAMM and Mk41 silo trials – Note the sub-container allowing up to 4 missiles to be carried per vertical silo.

According to the images provided during the presentation, the detection will be provided by the Thales Sea Master 3 AESA planar antenna 400D radar, capable of detecting air targets up to 250 km away, and surface targets up to 70 km away, while simultaneously tracking up to 1000 targets. Operating in band E and F, it is positioned at the top of the UHF spectrum, which gives it certain capabilities to better detect so-called stealth targets. Air and anti-missile surveillance is supplemented by a Thales NS-4 100D radar with a rotating antenna. Sub-surface detection capabilities will be provided by a CAPTAS variable-depth towed sonar from Thales, the same one rheld a few days ago by the US Navy to equip its Constellation-class frigates. A hull sonar will complete the range, without its model having been announced. However, it is likely that Warsaw will turn to the Thales BlueMaster which already equips the French and Italian FREMMs as well as the Spanish F110s, or to the Blue Hunter or Kingklip Mk2, which will equip the French and Greek FDIs, as well as the Gowind corvettes 2500 from Naval Group. A medium anti-submarine warfare helicopter, and torpedo tubes armed with light Franco-Italian Mu-90 torpedoes will complete the panoply of the Mièçznicks.

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