KIELCE, Poland --- Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz announced today during the MSPO 2016 defense exhibition that he has authorized the signature of a Letter Of Request for the procurement of eight Patriot SAM system batteries. The acquisition is expected to be finalized with assistance provided by the government of the United States.
At the show, Minister Macierewicz stated that he has signed a decision pertaining to issuing of a Letter of Request, addressed to the US Government and the Raytheon company, concerning the procurement of the Patriot anti-aircraft / missile defence system. In total, eight batteries are to be acquired, including two examples which are to be delivered by 2019, as a bridge solution (with intermediary version of the system).
Antoni Macierewicz noted that the first two “bridge” batteries are going to be fitted with the modular IBCS missile and air defence management system. This suite is going to act as a foundation for the prospective integrated air defence system utilized by the US Army.
The other six batteries, expected to be delivered starting from 2020, will be delivered along with radars providing 360-degree coverage radars and based on the latest technologies. Poland is to use the same improved Patriot system as the United States. Macierewicz noted that Raytheon decided to entrust at least 50% of the Patriot manufacturing process-related orders with the Polish domestic companies. He stated that the above steps would contribute to provision of support for the Polish defence industry and the national economy.
Macierewicz also said that numerous “unwise steps” had been taken in relation to the Patriot missile in the past. He noted that the current leadership of the Ministry of Defence had to make efforts to catch up, and that today, an “accessible” arrangement has been achieved, with conditions beneficial both for the Polish economy, as well as for the Polish Army.
Offset is also a part of the agreement, independent from the monetary contribution of the Polish industry to the implementation of the contract. The minister stressed the fact that the quantity of technologies to be received by the Polish industry has been increased by 12.
Submission of the Letter of Request opens a formal procurement process pertaining to the Patriot system, within the framework of the US governmental Foreign Military Sales procedure.
As noted by the Defence Minister, the above action is not equivalent to signing of the contract. Thus, the value of the deal has not been disclosed, even though we may expect it to be significant. The amount is to be a subject to further negotiation and talks though.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite the ministerial declarations, the fact is that Poland has decided to buy, at a price it does not know, a decades-old air-defense missile which has shown dubious combat effectiveness.
It has apparently accepted Raytheon’s promise that the IBCS upgrade to the two initial batteries will again some anti-missile capabilities.
It has also accepted to delay deployment of radars with a 360-degree coverage for another 4 or 5 years, until delivery of the second batch of batteries, and is taking on faith the fact that the future Patriot will have an anti-missile capability is still has not demonstrated.
Finally, the minister makes much of the offsets that will benefit Polish industry, but he appears to have overlooked that the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program does not allow offsets.
All in all, opting for Patriot does not seem to be the smartest decision for Poland, especially as two other systems were also competing.
But this Polish government has made more than a few controversial decisions on whim, and this one is not unique).