Poland to Extend, Improve Its FFG-7 FrigatesAug 03, 2011 15:49 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
The FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class of frigates successfully achieved the goal of fielding a lower-cost warship to bulk up numbers during the Cold War, and proved their ability to take a punch when the USS Stark survived an Iraqi Exocet missile strike in 1987. The flip side of that success was very little internal room to spare, and a design whose systems have proven prohibitively costly and difficult to upgrade. The USA has been providing these frigates to allies at low to no cost, rather than spend the money required, and has removed the advanced weapons on remaining American ships of class.
Poland was one of the recipients, and their 2 frigates retain the front pop-up launcher for SM-1 anti-air and RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. These are the Marynarka Wojenna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej’s largest combat ships. Their equipment standard is adequate in the narrow Baltic Sea, where they are supplemented by Fast Attack Craft hosting more advanced RBS-15 missiles, and by even more advanced NSM missiles mounted in coastal shore batteries. The ex-FFG-7s also serve well enough for wider deployments with allies. Poland is now looking for more service life extension work, as well as upgrades, but those upgrades will stop well short of Australia’s difficult and costly “Adelaide Class” refit…
Contracts & Key Events
July 26/11: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Poland’s official request to buy follow-on technical support and a Service Life Extension Program for its 2 “short hull” FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates. The USS Clark [FFG-11], commissioned in 1980, is now ORP Gen. K. Pulaski [FFG-272]. USS Wadsworth [FFG-9], commissioned in 1979, is now ORP Gen. T. Kosciuszko [FFG-273]. Poland will need spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, system overhauls and upgrades, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US government and contractor support.
Polish upgrades will be focused on converting their 20mm MK15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS) from MK15 Block 0 to MK15 Block 1B, Baseline 2 configuration, which can handle fast boats, helicopters, and UAVs as well as missiles.
The proposed sale will involve “multiple contractors, as well as U.S. Atlantic Coast shipyards who will compete for planning and execution of the system overhaul and upgrade projects.” The Phalanx systems are a Raytheon product, however, which means that Raytheon will deliver the upgrade, even though they aren’t mentioned specifically. Implementation of this proposed sale will require only periodic travel to Poland on a temporary basis, as requested for program, technical, and management oversight and support.