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07 September 2016

MSPO 2016: Interview with WB Electronics

MT correspondent Robert Czulda is present at MSPO 2016, covering the show, and interviewed Piotr Wojciechowski, President of WB Electronics.

Piotr Wojciechowski, President of WB Electronics interviewed by MT correspondent Robert Czulda during MSPO 2016. (Photos: Robert Czulda)

MT: Just like every year, WB Electronics is present at MSPO. What are the most important elements of your stand this year?
P. Wojciechowski: This year during MSPO 2016 we present the integrated potential of all companies that are part of the WB Group. Guests of our stand in Hall F have an opportunity to see that our systems create one coherent unity. We present integrated solutions in fields such as unmanned systems, communication, command and modernization packages for vehicles and military equipment. These are the fields in which the WB Group has vast experience and knowledge not only in Poland, but also internationally. We have proved our capabilities by winning various tenders around the world.

In regards to unmanned systems we show for the first time a tactical unmanned system named ŁOŚ (MOOSE). However, this year we are focusing not just on aerial platforms, but foremost on solutions which are required by all UAVs to operate. For the first time we present observation systems and avionics designed by our company and dedicated to UAVs of all classes.

In regards to communication and command systems, we present for the first time a family of COMP@N programmable radios, designed by our engineers at Radmor in Gdynia. At the same time we show that our current, battle-proven around-the-world solutions, such as the FONET system, can be fully integrated with individual communication systems, such as PERAD, and the previously mentioned COMP@N radios, and also with observation and surveillance systems from the MindMade family of products, also offered by our company.

At Kielce 2016 we also present the capabilities of our second Pomeranian company – AREX from Gdynia, which promotes an upgrade solution for the ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun. This package includes new electrical systems and new sights.

Modernised 3mm gun by WB Electronics.

MT: Is the system known as WARMATE, designed particularly for the Polish Armed Forces, also available to foreign customers?
P. Wojciechowski: Our philosophy is permanent development. Indeed, the WARMATE system is a result of this philosophy. It is an advanced loitering ammunition, developed by Israel, the United States and now by us. By creating this system we wanted to give soldiers on the battlefield direct fire support, which is relatively cheaper than an anti-tank guided missile.

Regarding your question. All our products are tailored to the needs of our primary customer, which is the Polish Armed Forces. It also applies to WARMATE but because this is a highly advanced system, various foreign customers are interested as well. I can reveal that we have already signed two export contracts for WARMATE.

MT: WB Electronics is known mainly as a producer of UAVs. What is your offer at MSPO 2016 in this regard?
P. Wojciechowski: The most important element is the ŁOŚ system, which I have already mentioned. It is designed according to the requirements of the Polish Army. Currently WB Electronics offer not only unmanned vehicles, but also avionics, observation systems, communication systems and flight control systems. All of these solutions were designed by our engineers and therefore we have 100%  intellectual rights. They can be offered to foreign customers as well.

It is too early to assess 2016 as we are still waiting for the outcome of a tender in France for mini-class UAVs, in which we submitted the FlyEye as our proposal. I am optimistic – we are in touch with SAGEM, our French partner who told us that our offer is the best among all competitors, both technologically and financially.

MT: Does this mean that WB Electronics will abandon the Battle Management Systems?
P. Wojciechowski: I acknowledge the fact that we are known mainly as a producer of UAV solutions, but this is just one of the three pillars of our company. The others are communication and command systems and modernisation packages. That is why we are still developing already known and used systems, such as FONET digital internal communication systems based on devices and their software creating a unified data exchange base between military vehicles on the battlefield. This is also TOPAZ automated fire control system which supports artillery. We are currently carrying out an upgrade of the FONET system for Harris, our partner in the United States. Regarding the Battle Management System, we have all the required technologies and know how to implement it into the Polish Army.

WB Electronics FONET digital internal communication system presented at MSPO 2016.

Poland still has a plan to procure the BMS, and recently a procurement project has been closed. This is a new situation. Our system is fully based on Polish technologies and already produced. At present sub-components are in service of the Polish Army, which includes radios, sensors, and network systems. Our communication solutions and integrators are battle-proven and were chosen by several countries for their C4I systems. The Polish Army now has 15,000 tactical radios provided by our company, and more than 1,500 vehicles, mainly the Rosomak wheeled carriers, are equipped with our FONET systems. Currently we are the only Polish company who exports comprehensive C4I (BMS) solutions, including communication, integration, software and training.

We have our own cryptographic. This unique potential was offered jointly with the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa). We believe that the PGZ should be a main integrator of the BMS. Ignoring our proven potential would however be a waste of decades of Polish experience and knowledge. Our offer is well known by the Ministry of National Defence and PGZ. These are smart institutions and we are sure that they will decide wisely.

MT: Thank you.