Monday, November 28, 2022

"Saab Signs Contract for Two SIGINT ships for Poland" (plus some other stuff)

A few days ago Phillip Pilkington—one of the few living economists whose views we actually care about, the others being a couple of Marxists: Michael Hudson and Michael Roberts, a couple of Nobel Laureates: Robert Shiller and William Nordhaus, Pilkington, and maybe a half dozen others—a few days ago Phillip Pilkington published a thread to Twitter:


Which was fine as far as it went but where it went wasn't far enough,

Beginning with the South Korea deal. Poland isn't simply buying big iron.  As noted in August's "Watch Out Lithuania: Poland Is Militarizing Faster Than Any Nation In Europe" as part of the agreement Poland has a license to build the tanks:

....Poland will import the first batch of 180 K2PL tanks, with another 800 manufactured in Poland, under the name “Wilk” (“Wolf”)....

These aren't just any tanks. From the introduction to September's "Poland Will Have a Large and Modern Tank Army

One off the odder comments on Russia's war against Ukraine was making the rounds last week, to the effect that Russia buying munitions from North Korea was a sign of weakness.

It is more likely a sign that North Korea's war plans are very similar to Russia's, lots, and I mean lots of artillery, and the shells to go with them. It actually seems natural.

In the same vein, Poland's joint venture with South Korea to secure a whole bunch of tanks seems very smart. These are the tanks Seoul developed to hold back the North Koreans and they are reputed to be among the best in the world....

Which was followed by: "...And Helicopters, Poland Will Have A LOT Of Attack Helicopters":

...Deadly nasty killing machines. 

So the distance from Warsaw to Brussels being 1160 km (721 miles) and with a ferry range of 1,900km the copters would need to be refueled outbound and for a return trip. Unless it's a kamikaze mission.

Wait, what am I saying, they aren't going to attack EU headquarters. 
Probably just Berlin and back home for dinner. 

Maybe Strasbourg.

There is much more than just buying arms and armaments going on here. Because of the hostility toward Poland's government from Brussels, and the possibility that at some point in the future NATO's Article 5 will be invoked by Poland only to be met with reluctant mobilization on the part of the other NATO members or, worse, silence, Poland wants at minimum to have the capability to slow-down any future attack. Memories are long in that part of the world and everyone remembers what happened to Czechoslovakia in 1938, what with the 'Peace for our time' and all. 

This attitude on the part of the Poles is exactly the same as their reasoning on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, February 2018: "Polish PM: Nord Stream II Would Make Russia Free to act Against Ukraine, So Must Not be Built".

When Germany and the EU decided to go ahead with the pipeline, despite a half-decade of warnings* from Poland, the Poles bought themselves a geopolitical insurance policy, the President Lech Kaczyński LNG facility in Świnoujście, about eight feet from the German border on the Baltic. Which they expanded. And expanded again while offering Germany some of the gas if Germany would just think twice about Nord Stream 2.

The thing to know about insurance policies is you have to pay the premium up front and it can be a very visible cost. Which will only seem prudent should something bad happen.

But there are some things you can't measure in zlotys alone.
(or rubles or euros or krone or...)

After that much-longer-than usual introduction, the headline story from Naval News, November 25:

Saab has today signed a contract with the Polish State Treasury Armament Agency for design, production and support of two ships for Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) for Poland. 

Saab press release

The total order value corresponds to approximately EUR 620 million with deliveries planned during 2027.  The order is expected to be booked by Saab before year end.

A SIGINT ship is used to support the acquisition of intelligence data across the full spectrum of naval intelligence capabilities. Saab will serve as prime contractor, designing and producing the two ships including the integration of advanced mission systems. The ships will be built by subcontractor Remontowa Shipbuilding SA in Poland....


Poland has some history with signals intelligence:
That Time Poland Took The Nazi's Most Precious Treasure, Gave It To the French and British and Changed History

*The Nord Stream 2 Natural Gas Pipeline Is A Game Changer For Gazprom
Dec. 2017 
Germany May Be Trying to Destabalize Poland But No Worries
August 2016
New Russian Pipeline In Baltic Sea Could 'Collapse' Ukraine