By Adam Bartosiewicz, Vice President of the WB Group
The defense industry and equipment is most often associated with heavy tanks or armored fighting vehicles from black and white films. However, battlefield success is less and less dependent on the thickness of armor or the firing speed of a machine gun. Information, reconnaissance and the ability to communicate quickly between friendly units, are becoming the most important aspects of 20th century warfare.
Effective communications technology, advanced reconnaissance systems and information processing are the most important tools for a contemporary army. It’s difficult to imagine an army functioning without electronics, used in precision-guided gunfire or positioning of units (so-called Blue Force Tracking). Also doubtful is the functioning of an army without advanced unmanned systems, which can monitor the battlefield from the air for hours and deliver essential battlefield information to campaign headquarters in real time.
Considering the key elements of armed forces’ abilities, Poles working on unmanned systems, digital data communication or wireless communications encryption has resulted in Poland having military competences that are essential at the moment. An excellent example of Polish solutions in these fields are the systems which are designed and produced by the largest private capital group of the Polish defense industry – WB Group. The products offered by WB Group, among them FONET communications systems for armored and other vehicles (which is successfully being used by the United States Army), TOPAZ battlefield management and artillery fire guidance system or the unmanned tactical and mini class systems, which are currently delivered to the biggest armies around the world. Likewise, WB Group is the biggest Polish exporter of military systems.
Defense contracts are strictly regulated and come under the control of government agencies that fulfill international agreements regarding the defense market. Without the proper end-user certificates, no shipment of products or servicing of military equipment is possible. Countries that have their own defense industry, strictly control the export of their technology, with regard to the variety of the equipment as well as the country of destination. It is necessary to acquire permission of a subcontractor’s government for the re-export of any given technology (e.g. tracking head). In the case a producer has at its disposal unrestricted ownership rights for the technology and algorithms found in a given type of product, it can freely decide to whom and where it will offer its product.
Therefore, the development of our own, telecommunications, data transfer or other key technologies is crucial in achieving success on the international market. By building our own technologies we are constructing an industry for the upcoming decades. Buying a foreign product or a foreign license, we would achieve a short-term profit, but the industrial potential for years to come – would be built by someone else – the foreign supplier. This is our most important message – we call it industrial patriotism.