Former corvette re-launched as re-designated OPV

ORP Ślązak under tow to outfitting berth just after launching. Photo: Piotr B. Stareńczak
ORP Ślązak under tow to outfitting berth just after launching.
Photo: Piotr B. Stareńczak

The Polish Navy’s was-to-be missile corvette turned offshore patrol vessel ORP Slazak (Ślązak – eng. “Silesian”) was christened and re-launched at Stocznia Marynarki Wojennej (Naval Shipyard Gdynia) – on the 2nd of July 2015. Following the launching, the ship was towed to the outfitting quay.

The ORP Ślązak is the first new ship for the Polish Navy in 21 years, being built as a part of the current naval expansion and modernization program.

The construction of the offshore patrol vessel in the basic version of Ślązak is implemented as a result of the Minister of Defence’s decision to use the platform of the unfinished multi-purpose Gawron corvette platform. Slazak is scheduled to be outfitted and delivered  in 2016, almost 20 years after the Ministry of National Defence had approved the concept design for what was to have been a seven-strong multipurpose corvette class.

The ship in a graving dock before launching. Photo: Piotr B. Stareńczak
The ship in a graving dock before launching.
Photo: Piotr B. Stareńczak

The first steel was cut on the first of the Gawron-class corvettes, based on Blohm + Voss’ MEKO A100 design, in 2001. However, subsequent reductions in class size and financing problems saw the programme facing difficulties. The first (and only) hull entered the water in September 2009. However, the government cancelled the corvette project in February 2012. On September 23, 2013 an annex to the original contract was signed, stipulating the ship to be completed by the Naval Shipyard Gdynia using the existing was-to-be corvette platform as the patrol ship ORP Ślązak. The contract annex clarifies issues of completing the ship and changing its mission from a multipurpose corvette to a patrol boat.

It was announced in March 2014 that the Polish Ministry of National Defence and Thales signed a contract for the delivery of the integrated combat system and related acceptance activities on board the ORP Slazak patrol vessel. In the scope of this contract, Thales was about to deliver main combat system components such as the TACTICOS Combat Management System, SMART-S Mk2 surveillance radar, STING-EO Mk2 (also known as the STIR 1.2 EO Mk2) fire control radar, MIRADOR electro-optical observation and fire control system and LINK 11/16 tactical data link system.

Thales is also responsible for the combat system integration related to other systems to be installed on board the vessel, such as weapons, communication and navigation systems, as well as several third party-supplied sensors.

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