“We feel a strong aspect of the Polish modernization plan is partnering with industry,” Rantas said. RTX has built a relationship with Polish industry to support the WISŁA program, which includes one of the largest defense procurements in the country’s history. As part of the program, Poland is joining the U.S. and six other NATO member states in using the Patriot air and missile defense system.
Raytheon opened a state-of-the-art Warsaw headquarters in 2019 to support the WISŁA program, and the business invests in Polish talent to develop missile defense programs.
“In the past two years, even during the global pandemic, we’ve been able to grow and invest in the talent within Poland,” Rantas said. “We aim to create a locally run organization within the next five years.”
The business also partnered with nine Polish companies to produce and deliver key elements of the WISŁA system through the local supply chain in the program’s first phase. In the second phase, these organizations will have the opportunity to collaborate to meet the future needs of the Polish Armed Forces in areas including integration, command and control, 360-degree radar enhancements and low-cost interceptors.
“We share the same values as our industry partners, and that has gone a long way to deliver proven, successful outcomes,” Rantas said. “Even with significant obstacles like COVID during the past year, we have worked very effectively together to remain on schedule.”
To bolster the local aerospace community, Pratt & Whitney Rzeszów initiated and continues to support the regional aerospace cluster known as “Aviation Valley” in southeastern Poland.
“The location was not an accident,” Andrzej Czarnecki, director of communications at Pratt & Whitney Rzeszów S.A., said of the initiative that started in 2003. “In southeastern Poland, there were several dozen years of aviation tradition that we wanted to build on. It helped us and other companies develop faster and create new jobs for the residents of Rzeszów.”
This industrial cluster of aerospace industry currently brings together 170 business entities and a total workforce of 34,000 employees – 13,000 of whom are engineers. Of those 34,000 employees, nearly 6,000 work at Pratt & Whitney.