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Polish Piorun MANPADS For Georgia

The Ministry of Defense of Georgia has announced the signing of an agreement with Mesko, a subsidiary of the Polish Armament Group, located in Skarżysko-Kamienna, for the delivery of man-portable air-defense systems Piorun.

On Friday, January 12th, the Ministry of Defense of Georgia announced the signing of an agreement with Mesko, a subsidiary of the Polish Armament Group (PGZ), based in Skarżysko-Kamienna, for the delivery of man-portable air-defense systems, likely the Piorun missiles. This marks another successful export achievement for Polish weaponry following its combat debut during the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Photo: Ministry Of Defense Of Georgia

As stated in a brief press release, Georgian Deputy Minister of Defense Giorgi Khaindrava met with representatives of Mesko. The parties discussed mutual cooperation, and subsequently, an agreement was signed for the purchase of an unspecified number of man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS). This document is intended for implementation in the development plans of the Georgian Defense Forces.

While the press release does not specify which air defense system is the object of the agreement, it is highly likely that it refers to Piorun. Serial production of the older Grom system will be put to an end after the delivery of the final order from Lithuania is concluded in 2024-2025. The last deliveries of Grom to the Polish Armed Forces occurred in 2016, It was later exported to the USA.

Georgia purchased Grom MANPADS in 2007, with the agreement covering the delivery of 30 launchers and 100 missiles. The delivery took place in mid-2008, just before the outbreak of the war with Russia in South Ossetia. The system made its combat debut during that conflict. According to the Georgian side, they successfully used it to target and hit 9 aircraft and helicopters. An analysis of 16 launchers showed that they fired a total of 15 missiles, with 13 of the launches being successful in achieving interceptions. Additionally, in 21 other instances, launches did not occur due to operator errors.

Mesko already delivered the first sets of Piorun MANPADS to the new users: Estonia at the turn of 2023 and 2024 and Norway on December 12, 2023. In the coming years, these systems will also be supplied to Slovakia, one of the Balkan countries, and Latvia. The United States previously purchased a batch, and as military assistance from the Polish government, this weaponry was also provided to Ukraine, as mentioned earlier.


Photo: Przemysław Gurgurewicz, MILMAG

Man-portable air-defense systems Piorun are designed to combat low-flying aircraft, including planes, helicopters, and drones. In the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, they are used as the lowest layer of the air defense system for short-range and low-altitude engagements (VSHORAD – Very Short-Range Air Defense).

Piorun is an upgraded version of the Grom man-portable air-defense system, which is also in service with the Polish Armed Forces. As part of the modernization, a modified launching mechanism, a new homing guidance system with higher sensitivity, and an optoelectronic sight mounted on a special rail have been introduced. These improvements have enhanced target tracking capabilities, resistance to interference, and the engagement range, extending it to 5500-6500 meters at altitudes ranging from 10 to 4000 meters.

The introduced changes also included the addition of a proximity fuse (in addition to the existing impact fuse) and a directional warhead, which enhances the effectiveness in countering small-sized targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles. Additionally, an user authorization system was introduced, as well as the capability to engage targets in nighttime conditions.


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