On May 6, the WB Group announced that it had been awarded a contract to deliver the complex reconnaissance and strike system “GLADIUS” to Polish artillery units. The contract provides for the purchase of four battery modules at a cost of approximately $500 million. Each battery module will consist of launchers, command vehicles, ammunition and maintenance vehicles, and a stock of FT5 family drones.
The GLADIUS system consists of a drone command system from the FT5 and TOPAZ family which will be integrated in order to receive, analyze and transfer information between the drone and the command point. The FT5 drone can be equipped with infrared and thermal observation devices, and COMINT/ELINT sensors or can even carry its own armament if the situation requires direct use of the drone in combat.
WB Group CEO Piotr Wojciechowski said:
“Project GLADIUS is not the only ‘sword’. It is also the eyes, the ears and the brain. It is a complex keystroke recognition system based on Polish-made hardware well known to experts. The experiences gained over the years of high-intensity conflicts, in which radio-electronic warfare systems and anti-aircraft defense were present, were implemented.
The war in Ukraine has shown that the use of observation and strike drones is the key to proper reconnaissance and use of artillery means. According to some reports, another of WB Electronics’ drones, the FlyEye, was well received by Ukrainian soldiers, as the Polish drone proved difficult for Russian electronic warfare units to neutralize, as it operates semi- autonomous following a pre-planned path. .
The purchase of GLADIUS comes after an immediate change in the scope of requirements for the Polish Armed Forces. There will be a rapid increase in the Polish Army’s drone capabilities with contracts for the acquisition of Warmate, FlyEye and GLADIUS drones. The Armaments Agency of the Polish Ministry of Defense will work to adapt the technical modernization plan of the army to include the increase in expenditure to 3% of GDP and to purchase more systems essential to the operations of the army .