If Necessary, Alone: The Shield of Poland

RNoAF: NASAMS-II components

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December 21/15: PIT-RADWAR has received an order external link for 79 Poprad self-propelled surface-to-air missile systems from Poland. The $273 million contract will also include the upgrade of two previously delivered systems. The short-range anti-aircraft system uses the Polish-made Grom MANPADS. Poland’s new government, led by the right-wing Law & Justice Party, has sought to increase external link military spending as part of NATO directives, but also holds a desire to increase production of armaments domestically.


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In the wake of events in Georgia and Crimea, Poland has emerged as NATO’s key eastern bastion. The Tarcza Polski (Shield of Poland) aims to give it an advanced air defense system to match. Poland’s military rise has been slow, but steady. Smart economic policies have created growth, and a willingness to finance national defense […]
PATRIOT PAC-2 launch

In the wake of events in Georgia and Crimea, Poland has emerged as NATO’s key eastern bastion. The Tarcza Polski (Shield of Poland) aims to give it an advanced air defense system to match.

Poland’s military rise has been slow, but steady. Smart economic policies have created growth, and a willingness to finance national defense is slowly improving their equipment. Combat deployments abroad to Iraq and Afghanistan have both sharpened training, and highlighted areas that still need fixing. Missile proliferation in the Middle East, American fecklessness, and a rearming Russia have all led Poland to the conclusion that they can no longer depend on old Soviet-era air defense equipment. They need their own advanced national air defense system, which can benefit from allied contributions without being dependent on them.

Tarcza Polski’s 3 Air Defense Tiers

The Shield of Poland is envisaged as a 3-tier system.

Tier 1: Local Thunder


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The lowest tier involves shoulder-fired Grom/Piorun missiles. Poland’s Grom (“Thunder”) is reportedly the product of some unauthorized “borrowing” from Russia’s SA-18, with local Polish changes and improvements. Grom/Piorun missiles can also be fielded as additions to fixed, radar-aided 23mm guns (Pilica system), or integrated on truck-mounted quad launchers (Poprad system). Both will be part of Tarcza Polski.

Grom missiles have already claimed a number of Russian aircraft, when used by Georgian armed forces during the 2008 conflict.

The Piorun is an enhanced version of Grom, with a new proximity fuze and warhead.

Tier 2: NAREW Air Defense

RNoAF: NASAMS-II components

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The next tier is known as the NAREW program. It involves up to 11 batteries of “short range” conventional air defense missiles, without anti-ballistic missile capabilities. While the top-tier systems have garnered the most attention and focus, and will be implemented first as a high-performance deterrent, NAREW’s ability to counter aircraft and cruise missiles at an affordable cost may make it Poland’s most critical purchase.

Competitors reportedly include Diehl (IRIS-T SL), MBDA-Bumar (VL-MICA), Israel’s RAFAEL (SPYDER & Iron Dome); and Raytheon (NASAMS). MBDA-Lockheed’s MEADS system was dealt out after Poland failed to shortlist it for the top-tier WISLA system, but Diehl’s IRIS-T remains.

MBDA’s VL-MICA. This variant of their medium range air-to-air missile has been picked for a few naval vessels, and a 2011 MBDA release suggests at least 1 export customer on land. That customer is believed to be Oman, and unconfirmed rumors suggest that there are more. The Platoon Command Post and 3D radar are complemented by missiles that come in infrared and radar guided versions. That mix makes the system dangerous even if its radars are shut down, and protected from enemy detection.

MEADS / IRIS-T. This consortium was led by Lockheed Martin and MEADS, creating a top-tier BMD system that can also mount Diehl’s IRIS-T. Aircraft and cruise missile missiles could be engaged with either MEADS’ PAC-3 MSE or IRIS-T, depending on distance, priority, etc. This dual role made MEADS’ bid something of an all-or-nothing affair. When Poland decided that MEADS was too risky to become a WISLA finalist, it effectively killed the system as a NAREW option, though buy-in from Germany and Italy could change its fate.

IRIS-T SL spun out as an independent bid, offering and a vertically-launched variant of the infrared-guided air-to-air missile, complete with an enhanced rocket motor, an aerodynamic hood for extended range, a data link, and an autonomous GPS/INS navigation system. That’s paired with an Australian CEAFAR AESA radar, Rheinmetall Air Defence’s Oerlikon Skymaster battle management system, and Terma’s BMD-Flex command, control and communication system.



RAFAEL’s SPYDER. Israel’s system uses a pair of Python-5 IIR-guided and derivative Derby radar-guided missiles to the same effect as the different MICA variants, cued by a combination of radar and optical sensors. The truck-mounted system comes in SR (4 missiles) and MR (8 missiles with range-extending boosters) options. One interesting question is whether SPYDER-MR could also mount the Stunner missile from David’s Sling, creating a mobile BMD option. There’s already a base for Polish-Israeli cooperation, as Peru’s new air defenses are a combination of Poprad and SPYDER-SR systems, via a partnership between Poland’s Bumar (Poprad), RAFAEL (SPYDER system), and Northrop Grumman (long-range TPS-78 radar). It will be interesting to see if that arrangement rebounds back to Poland. SPYDER has been publicly exported to Georgia, India, Peru, and Singapore.

Raytheon’s NASAMS-II. This system seems to hold the high ground, if NAREW is considered on its own. Its flexible open-architecture command and control could place it at the center of Poland’s tactical air defenses, and Raytheon is working with WZU SA in Grudziadz to re-use Poland’s tracked Soviet-era SA-6 launchers as part of the system. Fokker would provide the launcher canisters, and Thales-Nederland the radar. Missile variety (IRIS-T, AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, and longer-range RIM-162 ESSM), and commonality with existing Polish Air Force missile stocks (AIM-9X and AIM-120) help create a powerful edge. NATO and related NASAMS customers include Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain; it has also been exported elsewhere.

Tier 3: The WISLA Air/BMD Tier

Concept: MEADS fire unit

SAMP/T Aster-30
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The top tier is the WISLA program, which will have priority. In this “medium range” competition, up to 8 batteries will act as both long-range air defense, and point defense against short to medium range ballistic missiles. The only reason WISLA isn’t classed as long range is the expected 300+ km reach of land-based SM-3 Block IIA missiles, once the USA’s Aegis Ashore complex goes live at Redzikowo in 2018.

Competitors reportedly include MBDA-Lockheed (MEADS), MBDA-Thales-Bumar (SAMP/T Mamba using Aster-30), Israel’s SIBAT export agency (David’s Sling/ “Stunner”), and Raytheon (PATRIOT). All have killed ballistic missiles in live-fire tests, and all offer different advantages and disadvantages.

Concept: MEADS fire unit

MEADS concept
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MEADS. Advantages: European partnership, Advanced unified solution. Disadvantages: Risk. Lost its American customer due to the cost of integrating it with back-end command systems. The PAC-3 MSE missile is migrating to PATRIOT batteries, however, and MEADS’ advanced radars may do likewise eventually. Meanwhile, MEADS program partners Germany and Italy are looking at the possibility of financing the full system into production themselves, and Polish participation would really help. That’s good news in terms of industrial development opportunities, but it also adds real risks. Lockheed Martin and MBDA’s MEADS is a step up from PATRIOT in all respects, and its ability to launch Diehl’s short-range IR-guided IRIS-T SL missiles as a supplement adds to its appeal over PATRIOT.

The catch is that Poland would have to accept project risk, cost risk, and coalition risk in exchange. They chose not to, but there are reports that MEADS’ PAC-3 MSE missile could be an option as part of Raytheon’s bid.

How PATRIOT works

PATRIOT explained
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PATRIOT (Finalist). Advantages: No-risk choice. Disadvantages: Performance. Raytheon offers the most widely deployed and proven option, with zero development risk, a set path to integration with American and NATO back-end systems, full compatibility with American units already on Polish soil, and a massive global installed base that guarantees long-term upgrades and support. Raytheon IDS VP Sanjay Kapoor has added that that Polish systems would include the “PAC-3 MSE missile and recent technological enhancements introduced into the Patriot radar and command and control…”

On the flip side, PATRIOT currently has the least powerful radar in this group, and there is some concern that even with the PAC-3 MSE, future Russian aircraft and weapons will begin to outpace its capabilities. In response, Raytheon is offering Poland a variant of the TPQ-65 with 360-degree rotating coverage, an all-new antenna, and a new IFF system built in cooperation with Poland’s Bumar. RAFAEL’s Stunner missile is also an option, as an optional “Low Cost Interceptor”. Beyond that, Raytheon’s TPY-2 could also help even up the radar equation quickly, if it’s offered as part of the overall Wisla bid. It’s already being exported to the UAE as part of their land-based THAAD BMD system, and a TPY-2 is currently operating on NATO’s behalf in Turkey.

SAMP/T Mamba (Finalist). Advantages: European partnership, Range. Disadvantages: Cost, French diplomacy. MBDA’s SAMP/T uses an advanced Arabel radar, and an Aster-30 missile with longer proven reach than Poland’s other WISLA options. The SAMP/T system already serves with France and Italy, and France is implementing its own national BMD system within NATO’s ALTBMD. That makes it a ready model if Poland wants a European system. On the industrial front, MBDA has already secured key partnerships.

All of these considerations make SAMP/T a strong contender in Poland, if Mamba’s cost and France’s snake-eyes diplomacy don’t destroy its chances. America’s relationship with Poland had been damaged before the Ukrainian crisis, but France’s continued willingness to sell Russia amphibious assault ships after Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine is an odd case of “anything vous can do, nous can do meilleur”. Still, senior members of the Polish government have been recorded saying that American security guarantees are worthless. In that context, EuroSAM’s status as a finalist becomes less surprising.

David's Sling 2013 test

DS intercept test
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Stunner/ David’s Sling. Advantages: Cost. Disadvantages: Initial capabilities. This system is just completing development in Israel, where it will replace existing MIM-23 Hawk and MIM-104 PATRIOT batteries. Its Stunner missile said to be significantly less expensive than Lockheed Martin’s PATRIOT PAC-3, and the firm has even worked with Raytheon to tout a PAAC-4 system that would use Stunner on top of Raytheon’s PATRIOT Config-3 core system. Unfortunately, Stunner’s initial release won’t have key capabilities like cruise missile/ UAV interception, or the ability to hit maneuvering ballistic targets. Israel’s SIBAT tends to be closed-mouthed about its offerings, but it does have the leeway to offer Poland other advanced equipment like the Green Pine long-range radar used in Israel, South Korea, and India.

We thought that “the Israeli firm could have a tough climb here,” and pressure from the USA was the final nail. The Israeli firm was not a finalist, but the Stunner missile survives as a PAAC-4 option within Raytheon’s official bid.

Contracts & Key Events

2013 – 2015

Budget plan set and WISLA finalists confirmed; Israel reportedly out – but Raytheon brings them back in; NAREW timeline & shortlist; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine speeds up plans, somewhat.


Raytheon, MSPO 2013

December 21/15: PIT-RADWAR has received an order for 79 Poprad self-propelled surface-to-air missile systems from Poland. The $273 million contract will also include the upgrade of two previously delivered systems. The short-range anti-aircraft system uses the Polish-made Grom MANPADS. Poland’s new government, led by the right-wing Law & Justice Party, has sought to increase military spending as part of NATO directives, but also holds a desire to increase production of armaments domestically.

Oct 23/14: NAREW. Col. Adam Duda of Poland’s Armament Inspectorate outlines their candidates and timelines for the NAREW medium-range air defense system. The technical dialogue will begin in November 2014, for completion in Q1 2015. They believe that Poland can continue to provide all of its own command and control systems, but basic tactical and technical assumptions, and feasibility studies, will continue until the end of 2015. The winning system would be picked in 2016. Poland is only looking at complete system packages, and announced candidates include:

“Kongsberg NASAMS, MBDA Mica VL, Israeli Spyder and Iron Dome systems and the German IRIS-T. [Duda] claimed though that “other solutions” may also be taken into account during the proceedings.”

Note the addition of Iron Dome and the absence of MEADS, which was eliminated from WISLA. Germany and Italy are still deciding whether to invest in it independently, however, and the door seems open if those decisions change the landscape. Meanwhile, IRIS-T SL survived as an independent bid, offering and a vertically-launched variant of the infrared-guided air-to-air missile, complete with an enhanced rocket motor, an aerodynamic hood for extended range, a data link, and an autonomous GPS/INS navigation system. That’s paired with an Australian CEAFAR AESA radar, Rheinmetall Air Defence’s Oerlikon Skymaster battle management system, and Terma’s BMD-Flex command, control and communication system. Sources: Defence24, “Poland to Begin Short Range Air Defence System Procurement in 2016”.

Sept 2/14: MBDA. At the MSPO military exhibition in Kielce, Poland, MBDA signs 2 Letters of Intent with MESKO (Aster-30 B1 work and B1NT development) and PIT-RADWAR S.A (missile uplink receiver equipment), relating to the Polish “Wisla” medium range air and missile defence programme. MBDA adds that:

“…warhead, booster and servo actuators will be transferred to our Polish partners, as well as missile maintenance and training.”

Sources: MBDA, “MSPO: MBDA seals new perspectives for stronger cooperation with Polish industry”.

June 30/14: WISLA Finalists. Poland’s MON announces the Wisla program’s finalists: Raytheon’s ‘PATRIOT with options’ offer, and EuroSAM’s SAMP/T Mamba system that uses the Aster-30.

Poland won’t become part of the MEADS program, nor will it buy Israel’s David’s Sling. The 2-stage technical dialogue led Poland to conclude that they required an operational system that is deployed by NATO countries. Once those requirements were set, MEADS and David’s Sling failed to qualify. Sources: Poland MON, “Kolejny etap realizacji programu Wisla zakonczony” | Raytheon, “Poland invites Raytheon to participate in final phase of WISLA competition”.


June 12/14: Raytheon. Raytheon Company and Bumar Elektronika announce a partnership to design and develop a modernized Patriot Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) antenna that can upgrade previous ground systems. Meanwhile, Raytheon has begun laying out its broader vision for WISLA.

The IFF system will be used as part of an “advanced Patriot 360 degree radar.” Raytheon says that it would be based on the current AN/APG-65 with the new Radar Digital Processor, but it would carry an all-new antenna, and rotate for full hemispheric coverage. The result would also be an attractive upgrade for customers whose emplaced PATRIOTs are currently limited to a 120 degree field of regard. It would also bring Raytheon closer to parity with Lockheed’s MEADS, which substitutes three 360-degree radars (2 X-band MFCR, 1 UHF-band VSR) in place of the PATRIOT system’s single G-band MPQ-53 (PAC-2) or MPQ-65 (PAC-3).

A new open-architecture, NATO-compatible Common Command and Control (CC2) system would be a joint Raytheon-Polish development, incorporating PATRIOT fire control software, but allowing the integration of options like NASAMS and other systems. CC2’s design, development, and testing would be done in partnership with Polish industry, with the final product produced in Poland.

Missile choice would be up to Poland. Raytheon makes PAC-2 GEM missiles, while Lockheed Martin makes PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE missiles. To flank their rival at the high end, Raytheon is offering a “new advanced Low Cost Interceptor (LCI)” option. This refers to Raytheon’s PAAC-4 offering, which can add RAFAEL’s Stunner missiles from the competing David’s Sling air defense/ ABM system. If previous reports are true (q.v. May 14/14), Raytheon has effectively recruited their Israeli competitor into their team. The final LCI missile solution would be based on Polish requirements, and it’s worth noting that Raytheon is also RAFAEL’s partner for the famous Iron Dome counter-rocket system. Sources: Direct discussions | Raytheon, “Poland’s Bumar Elektronika and Raytheon Partner to Develop New Patriot IFF Antenna”.

May 14/14: No Israel in WISLA. The USA has reportedly used export clearance to block Israel’s David’s Sling system from WISLA consideration. Israel’s silence concerning Russia’s ongoing annexation of eastern Ukraine hasn’t helped them in Poland, either. France is one-upping the Israelis with their continued willingness to sell Russia amphibious assault helicopter carriers, but they seem committed, even though a SAMP/T win in Poland would earn around 5x what Russia is paying for the Vladivostoks. Which leaves a strong likelihood that WISLA will be American-made. Reuters:

“As compensation, the manufacturer of the Israeli David’s Sling missile defense system may get a role in a future U.S.-led arms sale to Warsaw, the [Israeli] official, who has been briefed on the competition, told Reuters on condition of anonymity…. The involvement of U.S. technologies gives Washington an effective veto over export of the system, which the Israeli defense official said had been quietly wielded in this case. “There has been pressure,” he said, without elaborating. “We cannot sell everything we want to.””

At the same time, Lockheed Martin’s Marty Coyne told Reuters that the US government had “supported the MEADS bid by giving Lockheed permission to offer producing its baseline PAC-3 missiles in Poland, and to help Polish industry set up production of its own long-range missile.” If the winner is MEADS, that would mean either a PAC-3 downgrade within the more advanced MEADS system, or full local production of the PAC-3 MSE, which is the USA most advanced air defense missile. Sources: Reuters, “Exclusive: Israel’s David’s Sling will not win Polish missile tender – official”.

March 20/14: Polish Deputy Defence Minister Czeslaw Mroczek tells Reuters that Polish priorities are changing. With respect to the Shield of Poland:

“By the end of this year we want to already have chosen an offer. That is the acceleration by several months, compared to our original plans, that we are talking about…. To a certain extent, the decision on accelerating this process is the result of a review commissioned by the prime minister and the defence minister because of the situation in Ukraine.”

The full system is still slated to be ready by 2022, and could cost up to $13 billion. The WISLA medium range system is reportedly going to be Phase 1. Sources: Reuters, “Poland speeds up missile defense plan amid Ukraine crisis”.

March 17/14: MEADS. With Russia in the middle of invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea, Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute writes that:

“Both [China and Russia] field ballistic missiles and airborne weapons that would present a challenge to Patriot in its current form, and the outlook is for such weapons to become more capable…. in an unusual move, the Obama Administration late last week gave prime contractor Lockheed Martin permission to offer the Medium Extended Air Defense System to Warsaw for use in the Polish Shield. The Poles have known about MEADS for some time, because two other European NATO nations – Germany and Italy – provided 42% of the money needed to develop it. A Polish delegation showed up for November tests in which a MEADS prototype demonstrated its ability to intercept a drone and a ballistic missile approaching from opposite directions.”

Meanwhile, Warsaw Business Journal confirms just 4 finalists: SAMP/T (MBDA & Thales), MEADS (MBDA & Lockheed Martin), Raytheon (PATRIOT), and the Israeli government (David’s Sling). Sources: Forbes Magazine, “Ukraine Crisis: Poland’s Air Defenses Become A Pressing Concern For Washington” | Warsaw Business Journal, “Four in the running for medium range air defense system”.

Feb 11/14: WISLA. Poland’s Ministry of National Defense announced the start of Phase 2 of WISLA’s technical dialogue. Stage 2 aims to identify the areas of potential technical and industrial cooperation, the transfer of knowledge, technology, and production, and the intellectual property rights available.

Raytheon says that they are 1 of 5 shortlisted parties, and recently signed a Letter of Intent with Poland’s Polski Holding Obronny sp.z o.o. (PHO) to explore cooperation. Their WISLA offering is based on PATRIOT, and Raytheon and PHO are hosting a Partnering Conference on March 18-19/14 at the Hilton Hotel in Warsaw, Poland. Sources: Raytheon, “Poland invites Raytheon to participate in round two of WISLA technical dialogues”.

Nov 26/13: Defense News offers an update on Polish plans:

“Poland plans to modernize its anti-aircraft and anti-missile system by 2022 by adding short- and middle-range missiles. The program is estimated to be worth as much as 26.4 billion zloty (US $8.4 billion), according to figures obtained by local daily Gazeta Wyborcza, which makes it the country’s largest armament program.”

Poland reportedly had 14 firms interested in WISLA, including Boeing, Israel’s SIBAT export agency, MBDA (incl. a consortium led by Poland’s Bumar), and Raytheon. Some of the interested firms would have to be sub-contractors, or supply just part of a system: Turkey’s Aselsan, Northrop Grumman, Selex, Spain’s Indra and Sener, and Thales.

Lockheed Martin is notably absent, but MEADS is being offered through MBDA as a 2nd bid, alongside their SAMP/T offer through Bumar. Lockheed Martin would remain an active MEADS participant, and remaining development funds are estimated at $400 – 600 million. Germany and Italy and considering “a transition to European development work” by the end of 2014, and have invited Poland to join them. Sources: Defense News, “Building the Shield” | NTI Global Security Newswire, “Poland Eyes Up to $8.4 Billion in Air and Missile Defense Costs”.

Sept 18/13: Budgets. Poland’s government introduces a 10-year military modernization law that lays out a comprehensive modernization program. Once enacted, it will remove the problem of unspent modernization funds having to be returned each year, and prevent attempts to shift the money to other purposes. The catch? Poland’s “Law on the reform and technical modernization of Polish Armed Forces” includes a guarantee that every year, Poland will spend 1.95% of GDP on defense. The good news is that this sets a solid minimum. The bad news is that it also sets an effective maximum, so successful financing of these programs will depend on the long-term state of Poland’s economy.

“Among the priorities defined by the President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk in November 2011, written in “Technical Modernization Plan for 2013-2022″ the following key operational programs are listed:

1. Air defence system – among other things the following items will be procured under this program:
– air defence medium-range missile systems WISLA;
– air defence short-range missile systems NAREW;
– self-propelled air defence missile systems POPRAD;
– mobile air defence missile system GROM/PIORUN;
– air defence short-range artillery-missile systems PILICA [DID: ZU-23-2 with 2 Grom missiles];
– mobile three-coordinates radio stations SOLA/BYSTRA.”

Sources: Polish MON, “Money for new military equipment guaranteed”.

2007 – 2012

Poland burned by USA, resolves to field their own system as well.

Aegis Ashore Complex 3D

Aegis Ashore
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Aug 6/12: Poland fixing its “mistake”. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski states that Poland is prepared to create its own anti-aircraft and missile defense system as part of a NATO shield, at a cost of $3-6 billion. With respect to the USA’s defensive plan, which Poland hasn’t rejected:

“Our mistake was that by accepting the American offer of a shield we failed to take into account the political risk associated with a change of president. We paid a high political price. We do not want to make the same mistake again.”

The missile and air defense system proposed by the Polish president would target all short and some medium range missiles, just like the initial 2 stages of the EPAA. The system would be part of the emerging NATO Missile Defense shield, but beyond that, details regarding radars, weapons, etc. would have to be fleshed out in subsequent contracts. Germany and France were specifically mentioned as potential partners, and MBDA’s naval PAAMS system and Aster-30 missiles have already been converted to a land equivalent of their own. Their SAMP/T is the logical competitor if Poland wants to buy a non-American system. Its weakness is that it wouldn’t be able to grow into a counter against IRBM or ICBM missiles, but that could make it a very good complement to an American system that can. Relations with Israel are close, but David’s Sling is a joint development with Raytheon, and past American behavior has involved use its weapon export rules against potential competitors. Polskie Radio | Forbes | German Marshall Fund of the United States | Russia’s RIA Novosti | UK’s The Telegraph | UPI | WSJ Emerging Europe.

Sept 20/10: Budgets. Defense Minister Bogdan Klich announces that the 2011 military budget will grow 7.1% after 2010’s austerity measures, to PZL 27.25 billion ($8.79 billion). A national air and missile defense system will likely need its own separate approval, and:

“Anticipating the tender announcement, all likely bidders presented their offers from Sept. 6 to 9 at the International Defense Industry Exhibition MSPO in Kielce…. included a proposal based on the short-range VL Mica and medium-range Aster-30 missiles from European missile maker MBDA integrated with radars and Grom missiles from Poland’s Bumar Group; Norway’s Kongsberg and Raytheon’s joint bid comprising Patriot and NASAMS II systems; and Israeli Rafael and Raytheon with the Spider and Stunner interceptors.”

Sources: Defense News, “Poland’s Defense Budget Rises, With Emphasis on Modernization”.

December 2009: Status of Forces agreement between Poland and the USA paves the way for emplacement of US Army PATRIOT missile batteries in the country.

Sept 17/09: “Smart” Diplomacy. President Obama calls Polish Prime Minister Tusk to tell him, without any prior consultation, that the USA is changing their plans.

While the military rationale for cheaper, more proven missiles that can handle multi-missile raids is solid, calling the diplomatic handling incompetent would be kind. After announcing a “reset” in relations with Russia, the USA tells Poland that a different system will be delayed from 2011 until 2018. While trying to convince people that it isn’t a cave-in to Russian demands. As a final capper, the call from Obama comes on the anniversary of Russia’s attack on Poland at the start of WWII. Read “SM-3 BMD, in from the Sea: EPAA & Aegis Ashore” for full coverage of the revised EPAA plans.

Switch to EPAA

July 1/09: MBDA. The firm takes its existing Polish agreements (q.v. Sept 3/07) a step further, and signs a framework agreement:

“This agreement will see MBDA and BUMAR jointly involved in a project to modernise Poland’s ground based air defences. Long term co-operation will permit significant exchanges of technology between the two partners and the optimisation of investments already made. In this respect the new system will draw on elements of MBDA’s short-range VL MICA and medium-range Aster 30 missiles with other major subsystems such as the radars and the command and control systems developed by PIT (the Warsaw-based telecommunications research institute – Przemyslowy Instytut Telekomunikacji) and RADWAR (one of several companies within the BUMAR group which is Poland’s largest defence equipment manufacturer).”

Sources: MBDA, “MBDA and BUMAR sign framework agreement for the future Polish air defence system” | Microwave Journal, “MBDA and BUMAR Sign Polish Air Defense Agreement.”

Aug 20/08: BMD OK. Poland acceptes the G.W. Bush administration’s missile defense program, which promises to complete a base in Poland by 2011. The proposal had been the subject of vigorous debate, but Russia’s invasion of Georgia helps firm up Polish resolve.


Sept 3/07: MBDA. The firm signs initial Polish partnership deals:

“The agreement, signed in the presence of Polish Vice-Prime Minister Przeyslaw Dosiewski and Polish Secretary of State for Defence Marek Zajakala, is aimed at future cooperation to meet the Polish Armed Forces’ long term ground based air defence requirements.

Under the agreement MBDA, along with Przemyslowy Instytut Telekomunikacji (PIT) and RADWAR (part of BUMAR, Poland’s largest defence equipment manufacturer) will have the common aim of providing the Polish Armed Forces with the range of Polish made weapon systems that will be needed to meet the country’s national anti-air defence requirements as well as its NATO and European commitments over the next 20 years.”

Sources: MBDA, “MBDA signs cooperative air defence agreement with Polish”.

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

General Background

* Polski Holding Obronny sp.z o.o. – Shield of Poland. Polish Defence Holding is the leader of the Tarcza Polski national program, which will be fully compatible with NATO’s NATINADS Integrated Air Defense System.

* Polish MON (Sept 18/13) – Money for new military equipment guaranteed.

* DID – SM-3 BMD, in from the Sea: EPAA & Aegis Ashore. America’s long-range Aegis Ashore system will be installed at Redzikowo in 2018.

* NATO – Ballistic missile defence

* Raytheon – Raytheon in Poland.

WISLA Contenders

* Army Technology – Stunner Missile Interceptor System, Israel. Full system is called David’s Sling, also known in Israel as “Magic Wand.” Expelliarmus!

* RAFAEL – STUNNER (David’s Sling). Technically, Israel’s full David’s Sling system also includes equipment from IAI and other firms; Stunner is just the missile.

* Raytheon – Stunner: Terminal Missile Defense Interceptor. Working with RAFAEL on David’s Sling, incl. the PAAC-4 option that marries PATRIOT Config-3 ground systems with Stunner.

* DID – Beyond Patriot? The Multinational MEADS Air Defense Program.

* DID – Timely Defenders: The PATRIOT Missile System.

* Army Technology – Aster 30 SAMP/T – Surface-to-Air Missile Platform / Terrain, Other.

* MBDA – Aster-30 SAMP/T.

* EuroSAM – Ground Launched Systems. MBDA-Thales partnership offers SAMP/T with Aster-15 & Aster-30, Thales radars and back-end systems.

NAREW Contenders

* Diehl Defence – IRIS-T Guided Missile Family. The IRIS-T SL package; note that the missile itself could also be integrated into NASAMS, but the similar AIM-9X would also offer Air Force commonality.

* Army Technology – Mica Vertical Launch Short-Range Air-Defence System, France.


* Army Technology – SPYDER Surface-to-Air Launcher for PYthon 5 and DERby Missiles, Israel.


* Army Technology – Surface-Launched AMRAAM (SL-AMRAAM / CLAWS), United States of America.

* Raytheon – National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.

* Kongsberg Defence – NASAMS – Surface Launched AMRAAM. Mainstay missile is the AIM-120 AMRAAM, but it can also mount longer-range RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrows, and shorter-range, infrared-guided AIM-9X Sidewinder or IRIS-T missiles.

News & Views

* Reuters (March 21/14) – Poland speeds up missile defense plan amid Ukraine crisis. Having Russia annex part of your next-door neighbor does tend to concentrate the mind.

* Forbes (March 17/14) – Ukraine Crisis: Poland’s Air Defenses Become A Pressing Concern For Washington. Better late than never – MEADS approved for export.

* Defense News (Nov 26/13) – Building the Shield: European Nations Cooperate With US, NATO Allies On Missile Defense.

* Breaking Defense (Oct 17/13) – Why Russia Keeps Moving The Football On European Missile Defense: Politics. “Ironically, moving the technology further away from Russian borders could increase the potential for its successful use against Russian missiles. So, whether or not Russian technical concerns could ever really be assuaged must be questioned.”

* Raytheon (January 2013) – Interview with Nowa Technika Wojskowa [PDF]. Raytheon IDS VP Sanjay Kapoor says that Polish systems would include the “PAC-3 MSE missile and recent technological enhancements introduced into the Patriot radar and command and control…”

* Army Recognition (Sept 4/12) – Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) modernizes Polish medium range air defense system. “The Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is shown mounted on a 2P25 [DID- tracked SA-6 system] launch vehicle with new launcher canisters from Fokker and a semi-active radar upgrade solution on a mobile vehicle from Thales-Netherlands.”

* Survival in the City (Sept 4/12) – What will happen with the Polish air defense? Site is flaky, but the article checks out against other sources.

* German Marshall Fund (Aug 11/12) – Polish Missile Defense Plan Puts Poland First. Also explains the diplomatic tensions created by the USA.

* Defense News (Sept 20/10) – Poland’s Defense Budget Rises, With Emphasis on Modernization.

* Commentary Magazine (December 2009) – The Missile Defense Betrayal. The revised European missile defense plan was not universally well-received on the political front, with many conservatives sharply critical. Commentary Magazine’s article includes coverage of the political dynamics at work in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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