The future ORP “Ślązak” patrol ship has been delivered to the Polish Navy. The hull has been plagued by delays, being under construction for 17 years.
The vessel was transferred to the Polish Navy during a ceremony in Gdynia on November 8. It will be officially commissioned on November 28, the 101st anniversary of the reactivation of the Polish Navy and the 18th anniversary of the laying down of its hull. The vessel was launched in 2015, becoming the first newly built Polish Navy ship in 21 years.
The vessel started as the lead ship of what was to become a seven-ship “Gawron” class of corvettes. However, the program was reduced to just one ship. Progress on the construction was slow, due to funding problems. In 2012, the government decided to cancel the project altogether.
The hull was then used to construct a cheaper, less capable, offshore patrol vessel, renamed “Ślązak”. However, the modular design of the ship allows for upgrades that would transform it into a proper corvette.
The ship in its current version is equipped with a 76-millimeter OTO Melara cannon, capable of anti-shipping, anti-aircraft and ground support fire. It also carries rigid-hull inflatable boats and has a helicopter landing deck, although it lacks a hangar. Ślązak has a top speed of 30 knots and a range of about 2,000 miles.
The ship was built by PGZ Stocznia Wojenna shipyard in Gdynia. “Ślązak” will be operated by the 3rd Ship Flotilla, based in Gdynia.