Bayraktar TB2 drone is seen at the 30th International Defence Industry Exhibition MSPO in Kielce, Poland on September 6, 2022.

Bayraktar TB2 drone is seen at the 30th International Defence Industry Exhibition MSPO in Kielce, Poland on September 6, 2022. NurPhoto via Getty Images / Beata Zawrzel

Defense Business Brief: Poland goes arms shopping; F-35 deliveries halted; New cruise missile defenses; and more.

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine more than six months ago, Poland had embarked on a widespread military modernization plan that would shift its arsenal from Soviet-era weapons to Western arms.

This week, Poland announced it will buy 96 Apache attack helicopters from Boeing, three times as many as it originally had planned. Warsaw chose the Apache over the Bell AH-1Z attack helicopter.

The announcement coincided with MSPO, the International Defence Industry Exhibition, an annual arms show in Kielce. The event drew more than 600 exhibitors from around the world and seemed to focus largely on ground combat, with companies showing off armored vehicles, small arms, and drones.

While U.S. companies are making a push to increase sales in Poland and across Eastern Europe, South Korea defense companies are making inroads there as well. Poland has placed an order for 48 Korean Aerospace FA-50s. In addition to General Dynamics-made Abrams tanks, Poland is also buying 180 Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panthers and 212 Hanwha K9A1 self-propelled artillery. 

“We will expand our footprint further in the European market,” Lee Boo-hwan, executive vice president of Hanwah Defense’s overseas business division, said in a company video from this week’s show. “Based on expanded cooperation with Poland, we will have more opportunities to increase cooperation with NATO members, such as the U.S., U.K., and Australia.”

About half of the 600-plus MSPO exhibitors listed were Polish companies, according to a tally done by Capital Alpha Partners’ Byron Callan. More than four-dozen companies were from the United States, the second most of any nation. The vast majority of the rest were from Europe. While there were only four South Korean companies exhibiting—Hanwha, Hyundai Rotem, and Korea Aerospace Industries—“that number does not capture the role South Korea is playing in Poland’s defense modernization,” Callan wrote in a Tuesday note to investors.

Poland has pledged to increase defense spending to 3 percent of its GDP, which would place it third among NATO members. Leaders have said Warsaw ultimately wants to increase spending to 5 percent GDP, but a target date for that has not been specified.

The first Polish F-35s are expected to roll off of Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, assembly line in 2024. Those jets will likely be used for training in the United States—with the first jets set to arrive in Poland two years later, in 2026.

Raytheon Technologies and Norway’s Kongsberg successfully fired three types of missiles from the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, known as NASAMS, to engage cruise missiles at various ranges. “We demonstrated how integrated defense solutions enable the warfighter to deploy the right effector at the right time and at the right target,” Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said in a statement. “Using fielded systems, our goal is to provide customers the quickest, most effective way to protect their people and critical infrastructure with layered cruise missile defense.”

NASAMS has received a lot of attention of late because the U.S. is giving several batteries to Ukraine to fend off Russian-fired missiles. The system has traditionally used only AMRAAM missiles, but fired AIM-9X, AMRAAM, and AMRAAM-Extended Range missiles during the test, which was overseen by the Air Force Research Laboratory Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office.

Startup Anduril has formed a strategic partnership with American Rheinmetall Vehicles’ Team Lynx, which is competing to build the Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle for the U.S. Army. “Software is at the core of the weapons and military systems of the future,” said Zach Mears, Anduril’s head of strategy. “Anduril specializes in delivering advanced mission autonomy, enabling commanders and battle managers to command and control more lethal capability at the tactical edge.” Rheinmetall's OMFV team includes Textron Systems, Raytheon Technologies, L3Harris Technologies, and Allison Transmission.

The Defense Contract Management Agency has suspended F-35 stealth fighter deliveries from Lockheed Martin after learning two alloys in the jet’s turbomachine were produced in China. “The issue is related to a magnet on the F-35 Turbomachine manufactured by Honeywell that includes cobalt and samarium alloy that was recently determined to be produced in the People’s Republic of China,” Lockheed said in an emailed statement. “This alloy is magnetized in the United States. Further analysis has confirmed that the magnet does not provide any visibility or access to sensitive program information. There is also no safety of flight issue. Future Turbomachines will use an alternative alloy source from the United States.” More here.

The ever insightful Jim McAleese, of McAleese and Associates, gives his thoughts on how China, semiconductors, and the labor market will shape Pentagon spending in the years to come in a new video presentation. “Think of this as coffee with Jim,” he said. Watch here.

With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the sprint to Christmas with a full slate of in-person conferences resuming. The schedule:

  • Sept. 19 to 21: Air and Space Force Association Air, Space & Cyber (National Harbor, Maryland)
  • Sept. 28: COMDEF (virtual)
  • Oct. 10 to 12: Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting (Washington)
  • Oct. 24 to 26: AIAA’s ASCEND space conference (Las Vegas)
  • Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 NDIA’s I/ITSEC training and simulation conference (Orlando, Florida)
  • Dec. 2 and 3, Reagan National Defense Forum (Simi Valley, California)

ALSO, Defense One’s State of Defense event series, in which we interview the top leaders from all of the military branches, kicked off this week with the State of the Army. Next week we bring you the State of the Navy and State of the Marine Corps, followed by the State of the Air Force and the State of the Space Force the last week of September. You can register to watch for free here.

Raytheon Technologies is partnering with Girls Who Code to launch a Leadership Academy. More than 100 college students will take part in the semester-long program. “The Leadership Academy aims to provide students from historically underrepresented groups with increased exposure to tech careers by empowering them with a supportive community of peers and professional development opportunities,” Raytheon said in a statement. It’s the latest move by a defense company to attract future engineers to defense and national security work.

From Defense One

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