Poland has signed an agreement under which it will receive British air-defence missiles and launchers in September, five years earlier than previously planned, as the government moves to enhance its capabilities amid Russia’s war in neighbouring Ukraine.
“We are drawing lessons from what is happening across our eastern border,” said defence minister Mariusz Błaszczak during a press conference on Thursday to announce the deal.
“Ukraine is defending itself bravely,” he noted, but that is “because it is prepared to defend itself”. The conflict has also shown “how important a role anti-aircraft defence” plays.
Minister @mblaszczak zatwierdził dziś umowę na dostawy elementów obrony przeciwlotniczej krótkiego zasięgu w ramach programu #Narew. Pierwsza jednostka ogniowa systemu trafi na wyposażenie #WojskoPolskie 🇵🇱 już w tym roku.
📄 https://t.co/FfwEEZJhCM pic.twitter.com/h8tejFxwl9
— Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej 🇵🇱 (@MON_GOV_PL) April 14, 2022
The agreement will see Poland receive two units each consisting of three launchers with Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMM) developed by the British branch of missile manufacturer MBDA. The package will include Polish-made weapon-control devices and transport and loading vehicles.
The contract also provides for training, logistical security and support in the operation of military equipment, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the UK announced that it would be deploying its latest Sky Sabre air defence system – which uses CAMM missiles – to Poland as part of efforts to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank in response to Russian aggression.
Britain’s plans to deploy its new Sky Sabre advanced air defence system to Poland were first revealed last month, just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine https://t.co/yn5Zr4qZFm
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) March 17, 2022
Later on Thursday, in an interview with state broadcaster TVP, Błaszczak added that the first elements of the American Patriot system defence as well as Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones will be delivered to the Polish Army this year.
Last May, Poland became the first NATO member to buy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Turkey. The same drones have been used by Ukraine against invading Russian forces.
Last month Poland announced its plans to buy MQ-9 Reaper drones from the United States in the near future and is eyeing further procurements at a later date, Reuters news agency reported.
Main image credit: Agnieszka Sadowska / Agencja Wyborcza.pl
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.