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The Polish Armaments Agency has placed a contract with MBDA to supply Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMMs) and iLaunchers for Poland’s Pilica+ air defence upgrade programme, the European missile house announced on 28 April 2023.

The contract, worth GBP 1.9 Bn (EUR 2.16 Bn), covers the manufacture of a total of 22 PILICA+ air defence batteries, making it the largest European short-range air defence acquisition programme in NATO, MBDA noted.

Designed by Polish defence company Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ), Pilica+ will combine MBDA’s CAMM short-range radar-guided missiles with a Polish-made autocannon and very-short-range infrared-guided missiles to produce a triple-layer system commanded by a Polish command-and-control system and guided by Polish radars.

Pilica+ will operate as the inner tier of the Polish armed forces’ integrated air defence network, which also includes the upper-tier Wisla system and mid-tier Narew system, which MBDA is also supporting with PGZ.

“CAMM, with its multi-channel, radar-guided, all-weather ability to defeat stressing air threats out to 25 km, will deliver a major enhancement to the capabilities of the Polish Pilica+ system in ensuring the defence of high-value and mobile assets,” MBDA stated in a press release. CAMM first entered service with the UK Royal Navy in 2018 as part of the Sea Ceptor air defence system, with the CAMM missile family (including the CAMM – Extended Range co-developed with Italy since 2013) so far ordered by the armed forces of nine different nations. 

Brigadier General Artur Kuptel, Head of the Polish Armaments Agency (left) and MBDA UK Managing Director Chris Allam sign the contract for Poland’s Pilica+ air defence upgrade programme. (Photo: MBDA)

Poland is already a CAMM user, having received its first battery in 2022 in response to an urgent requirement called mała (small) Narew that was successfully delivered by MBDA and PGZ in six months. MBDA and PGZ also continue to work towards contracting the technology transfer and Polish manufacture of the mid-tier Narew air defence programme, utilising the CAMM-ER missile and a common iLauncher solution, and on co-operation regarding future missiles for higher air defence tiers (through a contract placed in 2022).

Poland will benefit from the synergies of operating the CAMM family across multiple domains as these missiles will also be used by the maritime air defence system to be integrated on board the Polish Navy’s future Miecznik-class frigates.

Peter Felstead