Poland decides to restart ORKA submarine acquisition program

According to a tweet published by Mariusz Błaszczak on July 17, 2023, the implementation of the ORKA program, aiming to acquire new submarines for the Polish Navy, is set in motion.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Project 877E (Kilo class) submarine ORP Orzel. (Picture source: Polish Armed Forces)

Announcing the procedure in late May, aimed at equipping the Polish Navy with new submarines, the head of MoD stated that Poland aims to achieve the necessary technology transfer through an offset order.

The ORKA program was one of the priorities of the technical modernization plan for the years 2013-2022. It was also included in subsequent plans for the years 2017-2026 and 2021-2035.

Initially, the MoD planned to buy three to four new submarines, and the program's value was estimated at 10 billion PLN. According to earlier announcements, Poland intended to purchase new submarines armed with long-range maneuvering missiles by 2022.

Currently, the Polish armed forces have one submarine in service - ORP Orzeł, which was built in the USSR and entered service in the Polish army in the mid-80s.

Since 2002, the Navy has used small Kobben-type submarines acquired from Norway - a total of four, the last two of which were retired from service in 2021.

The former Minister of National Defense, Antoni Macierewicz, had promised new submarines for the Polish navy, which were to be approved by the end of 2017.

However, this did not happen. Over the past few years, several ships have been decommissioned. At the end of 2017, ORP Kondor left the service, followed by ORP Sokół in 2018.