Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Armed Services

In 1992 the Polish Army consisted of the ground forces, the navy, and the air force and air defense forces. The air force and air defense forces formally merged in 1991 when full command of the air force reverted to Poland from the Warsaw Pact and the strategic requirement for air combat outside Polish territory ended. The size of the Polish Army began to decrease dramatically in 1988, but changes in force structure were more gradual in the early 1990s. Between 1988 and 1992, the total number of armed forces personnel dropped from 897,000 (406,000 active, 491,000 reserves) to 731,500 (296,500 active, 435,000 reserves). Plans called for further reduction in the mid-1990s to a total active force of slightly over 200,000.

The armed forces model proposed in 1991 for the next ten years called for increased mobility of forces, principally provided by helicopters; improved equipment quality, especially in command, air defense, and radio-electronic systems; completion of force redeployment with operational and strategic supply support in place; increased staff professionalism; and a stronger position in the world market for selected military products such as helicopters, radio-electronic equipment, and tanks (see Arms Procurement , this ch.). The short-term model called for air traffic control and air defense system cooperation with partners in the Visegrád Triangle; reactivation of several mechanized divisions to balance reduction of the combat readiness of the two western military districts; and complete activation of the Kraków Military District, all within the next two to three years.

In 1989 some sixty-eight military units were disbanded, and another 147 units were reorganized. According to reports, this meant the retirement of 400 tanks, 700 artillery pieces, 600 armored personnel carriers, and eighty aircraft, as well as a cut of 30,000 active-duty personnel. The 1990 schedule called for elimination of fifty-seven more units and reorganization of seventy units, retiring 450 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, and 100 armored personnel carriers.

After completion of the restructuring program, planners envisioned ground forces of nine streamlined divisions, one airborne brigade, and one coastal defense brigade. The air and air defense forces would include one fighter division, two fighter-bomber divisions, an air reconnaissance regiment, two combat helicopter regiments, and one transport helicopter regiment. Five training regiments would serve the remaining active forces. The structure of the navy would remain essentially unchanged, featuring three flotillas and one coastal defense brigade.

Data as of October 1992