Israel's ministry of defence has reacted to a potential procurement scandal in Poland by banning two of its leading manufacturers from selling unmanned air systems to the European nation.
The decision comes on the back of the resignation three months ago of Poland's deputy defence minister Gen Waldemar Skrzypczak. The officer left his post after an investigation into the acquisition of UAS for the nation's army, amid allegations that he pre-selected the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 without running a proper contest.
Elbit's main rival, Israel Aerospace Industries, later complained over the conduct of the procurement, prompting the Polish probe.
As a result – and to minimise further fall-out – Israel has revoked the export license of the two companies relating to Poland. "This is a real blow to the Israeli UAS industry," says one Israeli source.
Israeli-made UAS are already in use in Poland, including the Aerostar and Orbiter mini-UAS from Aeronautics Defence Systems. Warsaw is also thought to have an immediate requirement for additional systems worth around $80 million.
Although the export ban covers the sale of UAS to Poland, a ministry of defence source says the two companies are free to offer other products to the country.