Poland on Friday announced it had signed a 1.9-billion pound ($2.4-billion) air defense deal with the UK arm of Europe’s MBDA, which will provide missiles and missile launchers.
The government of the EU member — one of the staunchest supporters of war-torn Ukraine since Russia’s invasion more than a year ago — said the deal would boost Poland’s aerial defense.
It concerns “the supply of 44 iLaunchers and several hundred CAMM missiles as well as accompanying equipment,” Poland’s armament agency said.
“The value of the order is around 1.9 billion pounds… Deliveries of the military equipment will take place in 2025-2029,” it added.
Missile maker MBDA called the deal “the largest European short-range air defence acquisition programme in NATO.”
The missiles and missile launchers will go “to support Poland’s modernization and manufacture of a total of 22 PILICA+ air defense batteries.”
A Downing Street press release said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the “landmark deal… as a major boost for Euro-Atlantic security.”
It added that Poland already uses MBDA’s CAMM.
“It is already deployed to Poland with the British Army to protect its airspace following (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine,” Sunak’s office said.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak tweeted that the deal would “reinforce Poland’s aerial defence capacity.”
Downing Street added on Twitter that “the deal will support 500 jobs, helping to grow the economy and provide critical defence infrastructure for Poland.”
NEW: The UK and Poland have signed a £1.9bn contract for British-designed air defence systems to be used in Poland.
The deal will support 500 jobs, helping to grow the economy and provide critical defence infrastructure for Poland.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) April 28, 2023
Poland, which borders both Russia and Ukraine, fears being a future target of Putin’s aggression.
Warsaw has urged its NATO and EU allies to ramp up military aid to Ukraine and has also stepped up its own arms purchases.
Poland recently signed a batch of deals to boost its defense capabilities, including with the United States and South Korea.
The EU member spent the equivalent of 2.4 percent of its GDP on the military last year, the third-highest percentage among NATO countries, according to figures from the transatlantic alliance.
This year, Poland’s military spending is due to reach three percent of GDP, according to the budget.