Company`s History
 

In the thirties, in the field of aviation, Polish aviation industry was a force to be reckoned with.
The opinion of some of those independent authorities, that are still traceable, was that we held fifth place in the world ranking.
This was due to such innovative designs such as; the PZL wing, the P-7, winner of the fighter aircraft class at the 1933 Paris Air Show, the Łoś (medium bomber), the Jastrząb and Sokół (fighters) and to the successes, in the field of sport aviation, of the magnificent RWD's. (albo RWD designs)
There were numerous aircraft plants, not least of which was the dramatically expanding Mielec.
Despite all of this, we hardly designed or developed, let alone manufactured, supporting aviation equipment.
Thus the history of "PZL Warszawa ll" SA is, in effect, the story of the research, development and production of aircraft instruments in Poland.

WSK "PZL WARSZAWA ll" - A HALF CENTURY OF POLISH AVIATION EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURE AND OF ADVANCED MILITARY TECHNOLOGY.


During the reorganisation and unification of the Polish Aviation Industry in the fifties it became clear that a dedicated facility for the production of aircraft equipment was mandatory.
Warsaw was the favoured location, for the clear reason that it already possessed certain traditions in the field of precision engineering as well as an intellectual base in the form of the Warsaw Polytechnic and the Institute of Aviation.
A new factory, on the lines and with the impetus of the dozen or so-year-old Mielec was, however, not established. Instead, production was set up in a series of existing small workshops in the vicinity of Podskarbińska Street and utilising relatively simple technology. The founding team, by and large, was recruited from the Okęcie Aircraft Works and from the precision engineering works, later to become WSK-Wrocław.
In 1952 the unit was officially inaugurated as the Communications Equipment Works (WSK) -Warszawa ll and work started on the production of membrane-based instruments.
The technology and manufacturing methods of recoil-driven equipment was mastered - both membrane and capsule - and, based on these designs, a whole family of aircraft instruments was developed.
These (rapidly) gained a high reputation with customers and, consequently, healthy export orders.
Somewhat later, in the former works of the Borkowski Bros. on Grochowska Street, a production facility for the manufacture of armature-based equipment was born.
These were renamed in 1959 as the Communications Equipment Works - Grochów.
Production, under license, was started at both Podskarbińska and at Grochowska, of the complex (at that time) gyroscopic aircraft compass. Mastering this technology represented a huge leap forwards in the technical development of these factories.
The early sixties saw a reduction in the demand for aviation equipment from the State aircraft manufacturers but the levels of technical expertise which had been achieved, enabled the companies to undertake the manufacture of alternative high-technology products for use in tanks and guided missiles.
WSK - Grochów began producing a stabilizing system for tank cannon barrels, under license from the (then) USSR, and based on American equipment captured during the Korean War. The next phase was the manufacture of inertial measurements systems, at that time in the form of gyroscopes.
The military Navy was supplied with a highly developed system for the remote control of surface-to-surface missile launchers used on assault vessels built by Polish shipyards.
In collaboration with the Gdańsk Electrotechnical Institute, but otherwise totally independently, a steering and autopilot system was developed for sea-going vessels.
WSK- Warszawa ll at Podskarbińska began work on the manufacture, under license, of the primary control systems for anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
In 1965 WSK-Warszawa ll and WSK-Grochów amalgamated to become WSK-Warszawa ll.
After several changes of title and, in 1995, on becoming a Limited Company,) it now goes by the name of WSK "PZL Warszawa ll" SA.

From that time onwards the following are the company's main production strategies:
1. Aviation instrumentation of a general piloting/navigational nature.This can (and must) compete, in the marketplace, with the products of other manufacturers.These instruments play a dominant role on the home market and abroad they are renowned for their soundness and reliability. The PZL logo, with which they are stamped, still symbolises that period of history when we were the fifth aviation world power.
2. . Some tens of specifically designed items for use in particular aeroplanes or helicopters - such as electric junction boxes for helicopter rotor de-icing systems - in other words, the sort of equipment that the manufacturer of the finished product cannot obtain elsewhere but which does not have a more universal application.Various items which, in theory, might be suitable for general applications but which, in practice, have to be sold to specific clients because they do not form a defined product line and cannot be offered as such on the open market.
3. Examples would be; a range of pressure sensors, valves, components for oxygen and other system installations, trim tab position indicators, relays, windscreen wipers, small electric motors, starter motor/generators, static converters and magnetos for piston aero-engines.
4.Recoil-driven instruments, capsules, membranes, parts for automatic control systems as well as expansion joints for pipelines and exhausts systems.
5.Components for the highly sophisticated tank gun barrel self-righting unit and, currently, the inertial guidance device used in the "DRAWA" tank weapons control system.
6.Parts for advanced rocket weaponry, namely; guidance and steering units for several generations of anti-tank and anti-aircraft projectiles from the "MALUTKA" anti-tank weapon to the current anti-aircraft missile "GROM". Also manufactured are sighting devices for use in anti-aircraft hardware.
7.Advanced naval systems for course and track control of merchant and military shipping.
These designs were developed in-house, literally from the drawing board to the completed article. Umpteen basic designs were altered several dozen times with the production of more than 1500 complete units worth many millions of dollars. These were endorsed by all of the leading authorities and our first production model, the TS-1, was described by the inspectorate of the Lloyds Register of Shipping as a world-class product.
Compared with the complexity of tank or missile technology the hardware of these devices is not particularly sophisticated. The software, however, requires not only a great deal of experience, effort and know-how but also a thorough grounding in theoretical principles.
Because of the unique problems involved in the steering of a ship, "in vitro" research was required from the outset, with the creation of physical and mathematical models as well as of simulators, initially analogue but subsequently replaced with digital computer simulator software. The basic principles of flight and the behaviour of water-borne vessels are identical so that, to an aeronautical engineer, the behaviour of a sea-going vessel is no mystery and it is, therefore, no accident that Sperry, that giant in the field of aviation equipment, is also a first division player in the league of marine guidance systems.
Experience in the research and development of marine autopilot gear enabled the company to perfect the use of integrated circuit technology in the early seventies and, by the mid-eighties, of real-time microprocessor technology - at the time when the digital autopilot tracking system, the TRAJECTORIA 207, was being developed for the military Navy.

Apart from those products which were sold in considerable quantities, a large range of designs and prototypes was developed which, although never reaching the production stage was, none-the-less, a substantial technical and intellectual investment - indicating the broad base and flexibility of our technical staff. This wide skill range is illustrated, on the one hand, by work on such designs as mechanical and piezo-electric gyros and the state-of-the-art gyroscopic compass for IRYDA and, on the other, by the development and production of the prototype for a modern field kitchen for the Army!



 
 
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