Poland seeks to combine short- and medium-range missile defence - MoD

The subject of negotiations related to deliveries of the US Patriot air-defence system includes connecting the Wisla medium-range air defence system with the short-range Narew system, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Monday.

On Monday, Polish negotiators started the next round of negotiations with the USA on the means of carrying out the first stage of Patriot deliveries, and details of the second phase of the programme.

"On March 28, I signed a deal with the Americans for delivery of the first elements, as well as delivery of the new battlefield command system, IBCS (Integrated air and missile defense Battle Command System - PAP). We will immediately progress to work related to the second phase of the programme," Blaszczak said. "In the second phase we want to purchase further Patriot batteries, a new, 360-degree radar, which gives a greater capacity to effectively counter missile attacks than the sector-scan radar," the minister continued.

"The task I have set for the negotiating group is to also connect the Wisla programme to the Narew programme, and therefore connect products produced by factories of the Polish Armaments group (PGZ)," the defence minister added.

Blaszczak noted that there is no deadline set for the negotiations, in order not to weaken the Polish group's position. "But we are proceeding to the negotiations immediately, we are counting on understanding from our American partners, the new equipment guarantees security and a stronger position within NATO," he commented.

The Polish defence minister expressed his conviction that second-phase negotiations would be easier than the earlier talks. "We have come to an understanding in the first phase, so it should be in a sense a continuation, though I realise that the issues have a business nature, (and) we are doing everything to ensure that the contract is as good for Poland as possible, that the equipment is as modern as possible and bought for the best price," Blaszczak declared.

He went on to announce that work is ongoing on an updated technical modernisation plan, also encompassing the Wisla programme. "We're working on those documents. I think that by the end of April the Council of Ministers will adopt a document, a resolution concerning detailed expenditures until 2026," he declared.

In late March, Mariusz Blaszczak signed a USD 4.75 billion contract for the supply of the Patriot system to Poland. When installed, it will form the nucleus of Poland's "Wisla" medium-range air defence programme. The basic task of the Wisla system is to shoot down tactical medium-range ballistic missiles, including cruise missiles. The Integrated Air and Missile Battle Command System will monitor Poland's airspace, recognise types of threat (aircraft or missile) and eliminate them in a matter of seconds.

The first two Patriot batteries will be delivered by the end of 2022, stage one of the two-stage plan. The elements to be delivered under phase two of the procurement are to include 360-degree radar, integrated into the ICBS. The system will reach initial operational readiness in late 2023 or early 2024.