The Norwegian army will be equipped with the Piorun air defense missile systems manufactured by Polish company Mesko S.A. from Skarżysko-Kamienna, which is part of the Polish Armaments Group. The contract was signed on November 29 in Oslo. Norway is another country, after Estonia and the United States, that has decided to purchase Pioruns.
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The Piorun missile can hit a flying target at a distance from 400 meters to 6 km and from an altitude of 10 meters minimum to 4 km maximum (Picture source: Army Recognition)
The contract on behalf of Mesko S.A. was signed by the vice-president of the company, Przemysław Kowalczuk. As part of the contract worth tens of millions of euros, Mesko S.A. will deliver several hundred Piorun rockets and starter kits. This is another agreement that strengthens the position of Mesko S.A. and missile part of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) on external markets. The contract is the result of an open procedure in which Mesko competed with European and American suppliers of this class of armaments. Mesko’ strategy for this product group led the company to quickly adapt its offer to the specific requirements of the Norwegian army.
Mesko S.A. has been cooperating extensively with the Norwegian company Nammo in the field of medium-caliber ammunition for years, but the contract now signed is the first for the supply of this type of armament to the Norwegian Armed Forces.
The Piorun (meaning "thunderbolt" in Polish) MANPADS, based on the Soviet-made 9K38 Igla (SA-18 Grail), is designed to be operated by one soldier. It consists of a single-stage projectile, a single-use tubular launcher, a starting mechanism, and an on-ground power supply. The Piorun missile can hit a flying target at a distance from 400 meters to 6 km and from an altitude of 10 meters minimum to 4 km maximum. The missile itself weighs 2 kg. A proximity fuse is used to allow more effective destruction of small-size aerial targets, such as UAVs.
The set is a deep modernization of the PPZR Grom set, therefore the second designation of the missile is Grom-M. The full name of the set is PPZR Piorun (in Polish: Przenośny Przeciwlotniczy Zestaw Rakietowy Piorun).
The Piorun is produced by Mesko and was created as a result of the Grom system modernization carried out in 2010–15. As part of the modernization, the effectiveness of the homing warhead was significantly improved by increasing the sensitivity of detection, which increased the distance at which the missile is able to target and hit the target, increased resistance to interference was obtained, a proximity fuze was used, an access authorization system and the set for firing was adapted to night conditions.
In 2016, the Polish Ministry of National Defense signed a contract for the purchase of 420 launchers and 1,300 rockets for the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, planned for delivery in 2017–2020. Due to delays caused by technical problems with the propulsion system, the delivery of rockets and launch devices began in 2019 after successful testing. In 2020, Piorun missiles were fired from Poprad self-propelled anti-aircraft missile systems. The missiles are used not only by Poprad, but also by the PSR-A Pilica anti-aircraft missile and artillery system.
In 2022, Poland announced the rapid supply of Ukraine with Pioruns during the 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis. Since the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Armed Forces of Ukraine alleged that a number of Russian jet fighters (Su-34, Su-25) and helicopters (Mi-24, Ka-52) were shot down with Piorun missiles.
The contract was signed on November 29 in Oslo (Picture source: Mesko S.A.)