Last month Overt Defense reported on the Polish Army’s effort to replace their Soviet-era ZSU-23-4 self propelled anti-aircraft guns (SPAAG). Known as the Sona program the objective is a vehicle capable of defeating short-range aerial threats including UAVs and artillery munitions (C-RAM). The two ideal candidates are Germany’s Boxer Skyranger or South Korea’s K30 Biho which both offer programmable airburst ammunition for defeating small threats. However, Poland has been putting an emphasis on domestically produced solutions and recently the Polish company PIT-RADWAR made its own proposal to use its 35mm cannons on a K9 chassis.
Back in the 1990s a conglomerate of Polish companies, including RADWAR, created a domestically produced SPAAG known as Loara using license-built versions of Oerlikon’s 35mm KDA cannon. Much like the Krab SPG the Loara was intended to use the locally produced PT-91 chassis. Both vehicle projects were doomed as the production of engines for the PT-91 chassis was halted. A single functional vehicle was produced and entered into service, before being retired 4 years later in 2013.
Even though Loara itself failed the license-built KDA cannons continued on and were adopted by the Polish Navy for point-defense. The first of these guns were installed on the ORP Kaszub, a Polish corvette, in 2016. Equipped with programmable ammunition these guns perform the counter-UAV and C-RAM missions specified by the Sona program.
With the Polish Army once again looking for a SPAAG, PIT-RADWAR intends to pick up were Loara left off. They hope to use the lesson of the Krab, which was revived by replacing the PT-91 chassis with the highly successful chassis of the South Korean K9 Thunder. As part of the Krab agreement, Poland got the right to produce the K9 chassis in Poland which works to the government’s desire to grow domestic industry. PIT-RADWAR has also shown concepts of the weapon mounted on the locally produced Rosomak (a copy of the Patria AMV).