On November 29, 2022, officials of the purchasing agency (Ministry of Defense) FMA (Forsvarsmateriell) of Norway and the Polish business Mesko signed a deal for the procurement of Piorun MANPADS at a price of 350 million crowns ($37.6 million). It is anticipated that the first complex will be delivered sometime in 2023. The quantity of the batch that was purchased is not disclosed; however, based on the fact that the Estonian contract from September 2022 called for 100 launchers and 300 missiles, respectively, to be paid for $102 million, it is possible to estimate that the batch consisted of 35 launchers and 115 missiles.
“Norway will be using this type of man-portable air defence for the first time, and therefore the Norwegian armed forces will gain important capabilities that they did not have before. This is also the first time that we have awarded a major contract with the Polish defence industry, which indicates the positive development of the bilateral military technical cooperation,” said Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram. “We received very good offers from several suppliers, but we decided that Piorun gave us the best combination of timing, features and cost. It can be delivered relatively quickly, it meets the requirements for functionality and efficiency, and they are quite enough in terms of price,” added the head of the aviation systems department at the FMA to the minister.
Since 2018, work has been progressing on the preparations for implementing the procurement programme “Project 5091 – Man-portable air defence system,” which is intended to strengthen the air defence of army units in Finnmark. The competition to select a supplier began in the fall of 2021. Since then, there have been two stages of competitive testing and several months of negotiations with several manufacturers. Following the conditions that were announced for the tender, the procurement programme is planned to take place over seven years. The delivery set will consist of launchers (command launchers), anti-aircraft guided missiles, mounts for installing MANPADS on various pieces of military equipment, passive detection tools, spare parts for two years of operation, instrumentation, as well as shooting training tools, including an electronic simulator.
The delivery date had been set for the end of 2022 at one point. However, it has since been shifted up by a few months.
Piorun man-portable air defence systems
GROM-M/PIORUN is a modernisation of GROM MANPAD that took place between 2010 and 2015. As part of the modernisation, the efficiency of the homing head was enhanced by improving the detection sensitivity, which boosted the target detection range, interference resistance, firing range, proximity fuse, access authorisation system, and nighttime operation.
The Piorun MANPAD set is differentiated from its predecessor by a different starting mechanism and an improved sight for identifying an approaching target. A rail has been incorporated into the design of the new launcher, enabling the use of sighting equipment that enhances the operator’s ability to detect the target. In addition, the chase/encounter switch, a cassette containing batteries that power the starting mechanism, and an authorisation system that prevents illegal usage of the set are innovative features of the starting mechanism. The Piorun and Grom ground power supply units differ because argon is utilised as a cooling agent for the homing head detector. In the Grom, nitrogen is employed as a coolant. Other aspects of the MANPAD have remained the same.
One of the requirements of modernisation was to increase the detecting range. To enable this, it was necessary to develop a homing head stabilised with a laser gyroscope from scratch, make it programmable, employ modern detection systems with significantly greater sensitivity, optimise the parameters of preamplifiers, and create digital algorithms for the starting mechanism.
Modifications to the homing head allowed for an increase in the interference resistance. In this regard, it was required to optimise the coordinator’s detection bands, boost the dynamics of the signal processing systems, and employ novel spectrum ranges and kinematic selection. Like the Thunder (Grom in Polish), the Piorun rocket automatically navigates to the source of thermal radiation, such as the heat-emitting engine of a helicopter or aeroplane. Thanks to the employment of novel detectors, such as a unique cooled photodiode with four times the sensitivity of previous models, the missile can detect the means of an air attack from a far longer distance.
According to publicly accessible information, expanding the range and enhancing the manoeuvrability of the rocket was made possible by employing a modified propulsion engine whose fuel is more energetic than that of the Grom and is therefore characterised by a higher total impulse. Additionally, the starting engine was updated. According to publicly accessible information, expanding the range and enhancing the manoeuvrability of the rocket was made possible by the employment of a modified propulsion engine whose fuel is more energetic than that of the Grom and is therefore characterised by a higher total impulse.
Additionally, the starting engine was updated. According to publicly accessible information, expanding the range and enhancing the manoeuvrability of the rocket was made possible by employing a modified propulsion engine whose fuel is more energetic than that of the Grom and is therefore characterised by a higher total impulse. Additionally, the starting engine was updated.
The Piorun Missile system weighs 16.5 to 19.5 kilograms 9according to various sources), the rocket weighs 10.5 kilograms, and the warhead weighs 1.82 kilograms. Maximum projectile velocity is 660 metres per second, minimum/maximum target firing range is 400/6500 meters, and minimum/maximum target firing height is 10/4000 meters.