The Polish Territorial Defense Forces (WOT) have announced that the ‘Warmate’ loitering ammunition system has been officially introduced into the Polish Armed Forces. The contract for the ‘Warmate’ suicide-drones was signed back in 2017, between WB Group and the Polish Special Forces Unit “Nil”. According to the contract, one thousand drones were to be delivered between 2017 and 2018. However, instead of ending up in “Nil”, the drones were assigned to the Polish WOT formation. It was also back in 2017 when the commander of WOT, General Wieslaw Kukula, claimed that each and every company of light infantry will be equipped with ‘Warmate’.
‘Warmate’ is a Combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle able to conduct “Search, Track and Attack” operations. The drone weighs 5.3 kilograms with a 1.4 kilogram payload. There are three types of warheads that can be used: fragmentation for attacks against soft targets, HEAT against tanks and other armored vehicles, and thermobaric warheads. This variety of munitions allows a vast array of strikes against multiple different threats to be carried out. The drones can operate for up to 70 minutes and strike at a distance of 15 kilometers. WB Electronics have also presented a concept that allows using ‘Warmate’ in a swarm of drones.
The delivery of this system to WOT, which still plays a rather subsidiary role in the Polish Armed Forces, leaves the Army without a similar platform or capability for regular infantry. The transfer of ‘Warmate’ drones from the WOT to regular forces seems rather unlikely. Despite this the suicide drones delivered to the subsidiary formation remain a potent and dangerous weapon for use by small squads, especially for light infantry role forces like the WOT.
With limited integrated heavy weapons the WOT needed a long range precision weapon that is difficult to detect and destroy. ‘Warmate’ is a compelling answer to this requirement. The question is whether the dispersed battalions of weekend-trained WOT volunteers will be capable of using ‘Warmate’ effectively as.