The Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) and Elbit Systems have signed a co-operation agreement concerning the delivery of an unmanned air system in the medium-range tactical category for the Polish armed forces.

The organisations will submit a joint proposal to the armaments inspectorate of the nation’s defence ministry for the 'Gryf' requirement, with PGZ as prime contractor for the Hermes 450, and Elbit as secondary supplier.

Elbit will provide the necessary technology transfer and the main components of the UAV will be manufactured in Poland, where final assembly will also be performed. A ‘Polonised’ version could also be promoted to potential export customers under the pact. Elbit will also help PGZ in the creation of a development and integration laboratory for UAVs.

“We want to be present in the Polish market and deliver the best solution in co-operation with the Polish defence industry," says Elbit vice-presidentElad Aharonson. "In co-operation with Elbit, Polish companies will be able to develop worldwide unique expertise in these fields.” The British Army'sWatchkeeper 450 was also developed from the company's technology, he notes.

“We are signing an agreement with Elbit to win a contract in the Gryf programme, to carry out the technology transfer, and ultimately to manufacture our own medium-range drones based on a Hermes 450,” says Wojciech Dąbrowski, president of the management board for PGZ.

Hermes 450 Hermes 900 Kielce - Bartosz Glowacki

Bartosz Glowacki

The new agreement also covers offering the larger Hermes 900 to meet Warsaw's ‘Zefir’ medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV need, with this to share infrastructure with the Gryf programme candidate.

A new Polish consortium will be created this week to develop key technologies, including adatalink, mission computer, software and electro-optical sensors for the nation's future tactical UAV. This will includeMesko, PIT-RADWAR,WZE Military Electronic Works andthe WZL-2 depot. The latterof these is already co-operating with Elbit ahead of the production of key components, including Polish-developed solutions.

Earlier this month,WB Electronics and Thales unveiled their proposed solution for the tactical UAV requirement, duringthe MSPO exhibition in Kielce. Based on the UK's Watchkeeper evolution of the Hermes 450, this could be armed with up to four Thales free-fall lightweight multi-role missiles.