The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Combat Management System (IAMD IBCS) to Poland. The contract is valued at $15 billion.
The package includes 48 Patriot launchers and about 650 PAC-3 MSE missiles to them, 12 LTAMDS radars, auxiliary equipment, spare parts, technical and logistic support.
The State Department noted that the possible deal “would support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing the security of a NATO ally who is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe”. In addition, the sale of the system would improve Poland’s missile defense capabilities and serve its weapons modernization goals, the department added.
Warsaw welcomed the State Department’s decision. “This is a crucial strengthening of Poland’s air defense system. We are waiting for Congress’ approval”, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. The military asked the U.S. to purchase six batteries of Patriot SAMs last spring.
Poland has consistently strengthened its defense amid threats posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last year, the republic received several U.S. Patriot air defense systems and Abrams tanks, as well as tanks and howitzers from South Korea. Negotiations were then concluded with Seoul for the purchase of about 300 K239 Chunmoo MLRS.
In January 2023, Poland signed a $1.4 billion contract to supply 114 M1A1 Abrams tanks from the US. The country’s Defense Ministry also plans to purchase submarines that can launch cruise missiles.
In May this year, for the first time the US supplied Poland with HIMARS multiple-launch rocket systems. Warsaw bought 18 such MLRSs and two training units together with ammunition and equipment for $414 million.
In early June, the Polish government asked Britain to provide air defense equipment to help repel Russian missiles, drones and spy balloons. The UK’s Sky Sabre ground-based air defense system is currently deployed in the republic. Earlier, London signed an export agreement for 1.9 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) to provide Warsaw with ground-based air defense equipment.
Poland’s air defense problem came to the fore in November when a missile crash near the country’s eastern border with Ukraine killed two people. The incident could have triggered a war between Russia and NATO, but it later emerged that the shell had been launched from the Ukrainian S-300 system, which was trying to repel a massive attack by Moscow.
The West blamed Russia for the incident because it had unleashed an aggressive war against Ukraine and conducted shelling. Polish President Andrzej Duda described the incident as an “accident.
Russian officials have repeatedly threatened Poland, including over its military assistance to Ukraine. For example, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said that the republic would become a priority target if NATO countries send fighter jets to Kiev.
In March, it became known that the Polish authorities were working to make their land army the largest in Europe. Its number is going to be doubled to 300 thousand people. By 2035, the government plans to invest at least 524 billion zlotys (about 110 billion euros) in the modernization of the armed forces.