Poland to purchase US Patriot missiles, Airbus helicopters

U.S. Patriot missile system (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

U.S. Patriot missile system (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

Poland has approved the purchase of US Patriot missiles, the country’s defense ministry confirmed on Tuesday. Warsaw also said it will buy helicopters from the European firm Airbus, which will cost the country $8.6 billion.

The Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said Warsaw will enter
into negotiations with Washington to finalize the Patriot missile
deal from the Raytheon company, which is worth about US$5
billion. Discussions on the exact pricing and specification could
take several months, the Financial Times reported.

The Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said the Raytheon deal will
help to “ensure the participation of Poland’s defense
industry in the supply [of equipment to the forces] and enable
the transfer of modern technology and know-how for Polish

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The defense ministry added that it has chosen the Caracal EC725
Airbus helicopters for testing purposes. According to sources,
that deal appears to include the purchase of 50 helicopters at a
cost of $3 billion, according to Reuters. It was originally
planned that 70 helicopters would be acquired.

Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus Helicopters, told the
Financial Times earlier this year that winning the Polish tender
would “accelerate the [company’s] speed of going to

The country was “the next step” in the parent group’s
plans to expand into Eastern Europe, he added.

The purchases are part of the Polish military’s $38 billion
procurement program to replace its remaining Soviet-era equipment
and build up defenses in response to the Ukraine conflict.

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Poland chose Raytheon – the world’s biggest missile maker – over
France’s Thales and European group MBDA.

The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that the choice of
the Patriots was not a surprise, “because Raytheon was the
front-runner from the start

However, the helicopter decision is being viewed as more delicate
because rival bidders – Sikorsky of the United States and
AgustaWestland, owned by Italy’s Finmeccanica – have factories in

Warsaw has had strong defense and security ties with Washington
since the end of the Cold War. However, over the past few years,
Polish policymakers have been lobbying for a stronger security
relationship with the rest of Europe – particularly after the
Obama administration scaled back its missile defense shield in
Eastern Europe.

Poland, a member of NATO since 1999, plans to meet the alliance’s
informal target of raising defense spending by two percent of the
country’s total economic output by next year.

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