Poland will purchase the PATRIOT medium range air and missile defense system from the US as part of its “Vistula” missile defense system. The US State Department welcomed the announcement, praising Poland as a “stalwart NATO ally,” and said the investment will strengthen the Alliance. The Vistula air and missile defense program, worth some $5 billion in investment, is expected to generate at least $2.5 billion in US export sales, and will include co-development that will strengthen Polish industry. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, announcing the deal April 21, said modernization of the Polish armed forces is vital in light of the security environment created by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the anti-missile shield is at the top of his priority. Komorowski announced Poland’s defense minister would travel to the US in May to negotia?te specifics on the deal, which will see some eight PATRIOT batteries deployed and operational by 2025. Komorowski said he plans more modernization announcements soon, to include new anti-aircraft systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles, as part of a 10-year $45 billion modernization program. Poland has expanded training with US forces in the past year, and has modernized its Air Force with F-16s and advanced air to ground cruise missiles.
The Air Force isn’t giving up on its long-frustrated efforts to retire older aircraft, as the department’s leader continues to talk with lawmakers about plans to free up funds for its modernization efforts, Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones said Nov. 30.