Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Polish Armed Forces|
|Military age||18 years of age|
|Availability||males age 15-49: 10,354,978 (2003 est.)|
|Reaching military age annually||males: 343,500 (2003 est.)|
|Dollar figure||$3.5 billion (FY2002 est.)|
|Percent of GDP||1.71% (FY2002 est.)|
Wojsko is the name applied to the military forces of Poland. The name is in use since early 19th century, although it can be used to refer to earlier formations as well. Polish Armed Forces consist of the Army (Wojsko Ladowe), Navy (Marynarka) and Air Force (Lotnictwo) branches and are under the command of the Ministry of Defense (Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej).
The modern day Wojsko was created in 1918, from the three seperate Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Prussian armies and equipment left following World War I. The force expanded during the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1922 to nearly 800,000 men, but then was reduced when peace was reestablished. During the Second World War, on 1 September 1939 the force was nearly one million men strong, but was defeated by a combined German and Soviet two front attack. It splintered into guerilla units and partisan groups which fought in clandestine ways against the foreign occupiers of Poland. After the war the Soviets imposed their own structure on the military, which was ultimately discarded after the fall of communism. Currently it is organized according to NATO standards.
The combined Polish armed forces consists of 135,000 active duty personnel and in addition 450,000 reserves. The armed forces are made up of conscripts who serve for a period of 12 months, and professional soldiers. Personnel levels and organization in the different branches are as follows (2004):
- Army: 87,877 (3 Mechanized Divisions and 1 Armoured Division)
- Air Force: 31,147 (Air and Air Defense Corps)
- Navy: 15,976 (1 Battle Fleet, 2 Coastal Defense Brigades)
- Main article: Equipment of the Polish Army
The Polish military continues to use mostly Soviet-era equipment, however after joining NATO in 1999 Poland has begun upgrading and modernizing its hardware to Western standards. The General Staff has been reorganized into a NATO-compatible J/G-1 through J/G-6 structure. Recent modernization projects include the acquisition of F-16 fighter jets from the United States, Leopard 2 MBTs from Germany, ATGM technology from Israel (as well as possible future acquisition of Rafael Python 5 and Arrow missiles), and Patria AMV 8x8 AFVs from Finland. Equipment statistics for the branches are as follows:
- Army: 1010 MBT, 2042 AFV/APC, 1322 Artillery (120mm or greater ), 157 Army Helicopters.
- Air Force: 143 Fighter, 232 FGA/Training, 173 Transport/Helicopter.
- Navy: 1 Destroyer, 5 Corvette, 9 Frigate, 3 Submarine, 57 Auxillary, 79 Navy Aircraft.
The most basic goal of the armed forces is the defense of Polish territorial integrity, and Polish interests abroad. Poland's national security goal is to further integrate with NATO and other west European defense, economic, and political institutions via a modernization and reorganization of its military. Polish military doctrine reflects the same defense nature as its NATO partners. Poland continues to be a regional leader in support and participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program and has actively engaged most of its neighbors and other regional actors to build stable foundations for future European security arrangements. Poland is also playing an increasingly larger role as a major European peacekeeping power in the world through various UN peacekeeping actions.
Polish Armed Forces took part in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, and since then have 2,500 soldiers in the south of that country, and command of the 17-nation Multinational force in Iraq. In addition to this, Polish soldiers are currently deployed in five separate UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNDOF, UNIFIL, SFOR, AFOR and KFOR) with a total of approximately 2,200 troops, on top of the 2,500 soldiers in southern Iraq. Total international deployment of Polish military is 4,700 troops.
Current Deployment (2004):
- Lebanon: UN Interim Force (PMC/UNIFIL) - 632 soldiers
- Balkans: Stabilization Force (PMU/SFOR) - 300 soldiers
- Albania: International Force in Albania (PMU/AFOR) - 140 soldiers
Polish military forces are the origin of the two-fingers salute.
The Wojsko consists of the following branches:
- Polish Army (Wojska Lądowe Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej)
- Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej)
- Polish Air Forces (Siły Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej)
- Official Website of the Polish Army
- Official Website of the Polish Ministry of Defense
- Official Website of the Polish Air Force
- Official Website of the Polish Navy
- kamouflage.net: online index of camouflage uniforms from around the world
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details