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Poland doubles Kormoran minehunter fleet

24th March 2022 - 14:00 GMT | by Lukasz Prus in Warsaw

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Kormoran II minesweepers (such as the first-in-class ORP Kormoran, pictured) are being constructed by the Polish shipbuilding industry, with three more to come. (Photo: Remontowa Shipbuilding)

Three more Kormoran II-class vessels will join the expanding Polish Navy with deliveries planned for 2025-2027.

Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Blaszczak announced on 15 March that a contract for three more Kormoran II-class minehunters for the Polish Navy will be signed before the end of June 2022.

The cost of this procurement remains undisclosed but Shephard Defence Insight calculates a unit cost of $85.5 million per new Kormoran II vessel. This amount, apart from the production and equipment itself, includes R&D costs, crew training and logistics.

The Polish Ministry of National Defence has given no further details about the contracting process for the three new minehunters although Shephard Defence Insight forecasts deliveries in 2025, 2026 and 2027.

Funding will come from the Polish defence budget, which is being boosted to 3% of  GDP in 2023.

The first Kormoran II vessel (ORP Kormoran) was built by a consortium comprising privately owned shipyard Remontowa Shipbuilding (consortium leader), the Research and Development Centre of the Maritime Technology Centre and PGZ Military Shipyard (the latter two companies are part of a state-owned armament holding PGZ).

A contract for two more ships followed in December 2017: ORP Albatros will enter service in the next few months, and ORP Mewa is expected to be delivered to the Polish Navy in 2023.

Remontowa Shipbuilding is also the favourite to be name as prime contractor for the next three minehunters.  Błaszczak stressed that the construction of the vessels will maintain ‘operability and continuity of production in Polish shipyards’.

The construction of the three new Kormoran II ships is another step towards the modernisation of the Polish Navy.

In 2021, a contract was signed with PGZ to build three new frigates in the Miecznik programme to form the core of the future navy.

In March 2022, it was announced that Babcock International (offering the Arrowhead 140PL frigate) and Thales (offering the Tacticos system) will be partners in this project. The ships are likely to be armed with the MBDA Sea Ceptor air defence system.

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