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Poland not considering deployment of US missiles, says minister

Poland is not considering the deployment of US medium-and short-range missiles on its territory for the moment, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told the Kommersant business daily.

Published: August 7, 2017, 10:16 am

    “So far these are all speculations: we did not get any offers from the US, and the decision to deploy such weapons would depend on NATO. As far as I know, we are not considering this prospect for the moment,” the minister said.

    On July 6, the Polish and US defense ministries had signed a memorandum of intent on the delivery of Patriot systems to the country.

    According to Polish Minister of National Defense Antoni Macierewicz, the American Patriot systems would be delivered by 2022, with “operation readiness” set for 2023, a joint declaration of the Polish and US defense ministries noted.

    But the deal with US defense contractor Raytheon, which would see Poland buy eight Patriot missile defense systems, may not be finalized in November of this year as previously reported. The Polish memorandum of intent signed with the United States, was to buy the Patriot missile system along with interceptor missiles from Israel’s David Sling missile defense system in a deal worth close to $8 billion.

    Macierewicz said both parties agreed that the Patriot systems sold to Poland would be equipped with the advanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) as well as radar.

    The batteries will have Northrop Grumman’s not-yet-fielded IBCS, included by 2019 and have a 360-degree radar, which Patriot also currently does not have.

    But the Polish newspaper Gazeta Pravna had reported earlier that the talks between Warsaw and Washington on Poland’s acquisition of the eight Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems had come to a standstill.

    In total, the Polish party had 12 demands listed in the memorandum. If these demands are not met, the agreement on the Patriot supply will not be signed.

    It was noted that so far only a few requirements of Warsaw have been met, suggesting that the negotiations with the US on the Patriot deal have reached a deadlock. The representatives of the US defense department would not agree to transfer the technologies.

    According to the Polish newspaper, Warsaw had hoped to obtain certain technologies related to management and maintenance of communications as well as weaponry.

    The Polish government had planned to use the technology for the production of cheap ground-to-air missiles.

    Meanwhile, a spokesman for Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems stated that no deal has yet been signed, one of the largest proposed deals ever to be signed by Rafael.

    According to Ynet news, Warsaw insisted that the Patriot system be configured to use the Israeli missile due to its superior performance at only 10 percent of the cost of the American Patriot missile, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, low-flying cruise missiles as well as aircraft.

    Known as “Skyceptor,” David’s Sling is a joint Israeli-US project, with Rafael collaborating with Raytheon, which also produces the Patriot missile system.

    Other components of the system were developed by Elta – a subdivision of Israel Aerospace Industries – which developed the system’s radar, and the Elisra subdivision of Elbit Systems, which developed the command and control mechanisms.

    According to US Defense News, the secretary of state at Poland’s Ministry of National Defence has threatened to break off an impending deal with the US government to buy Patriot air-and-missile defense systems if certain requirements for technology transfers were not met, according to a letter sent July 15 to the director of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

    The Polish government posted a different version of the letter on the ministry’s website after the letter went public, the site reported.

    “The transfer of 12 technologies indicated within the offset as necessary, in line with Polish legal regulations, has a fundamental impact on the Government of Poland signing the Letter of Offer and Acceptance. Failure to meet these provisions will result in the offset offer being rejected, which will then result in terminating the process for the procurement of the Wisla Patriot program,” the letter states.

    Marek Swierczynski, an analyst for security affairs at Polityka Insight, noted the letter confirmed rumors that the memo announced on July 6 was “a political document with no direct link to formal negotiations”.

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