Poland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said on Wednesday evening that they’ve struck a deal with the United States to purchase Patriot Missile Systems.
“A memorandum was signed tonight that the U.S. government has agreed to sell Poland Patriot missiles in the most modern configuration,” Macierewicz said in a news conference broadcast on public television on Thursday morning.
“I am glad that I can pass on this information on the day of President’s Trump visit to Warsaw,” Macierewicz also said.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrived on Wednesday in Warsaw where the White House said he would showcase his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a speech and in meetings with a group of nations closest to Russia on his way to the G20 summit in Germany on Friday and Saturday.
In March Poland said it expected to sign a deal worth up to $7.6 billion with U.S. firm Raytheon to buy eight Patriot missile defense systems by the end of the year.
Warsaw sees the deal as central to a thorough modernization of its armed forces by 2023.
Poland, the former communist nation that shares a border with Russia, is one of the few NATO members that meet the alliance’s defense spending target of 2 percent of economic output.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. Manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, it derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target” which is a where the “PATRIOT” name is derived.
It was used against SCUDs during the Gulf War and the Israelis used it to shoot down an SU-24 from the Syrian Air Force when it penetrated Israel’s airspace.
The first deliveries of the missile interceptors, which have been a source of tension between NATO and Russia, may take place within two years.
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Photo courtesy US Army