Poland to build missile defense with US

Soldiers from 357th Air and Missile Defense Detachment, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, ALPHA Battery conduct drills on the Patriot Missile systems in Morag, Poland, June 1. The purpose of the drills is to show joint cooperation between US and Polish forces. Photo credit: U.S. Army

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski said Tuesday that the defense minister will travel to the U.S. in May to negotiate cooperation on a state-of-the-art missile defense system that Poland wants to build.

Poland is accelerating efforts to upgrade its defense systems and armed forces, spurred by the conflict between Russian-backed separatists and government forces in neighboring Ukraine. The Defense Ministry said Tuesday it was seeking to obtain eight medium range Patriot missile batteries by 2025, two of them within three years after signing the contract. Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak will also negotiate an offset agreement to guarantee the participation of Poland’s defense companies in the building of the system, the ministry said.

Poland’s government on Tuesday approved development of an own air defense system, called “Wisla” (Vistula). The system was proposed after earlier U.S. plans to build a “shield” for the region were scaled down by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Komorowski also said that Poland will test Airbus helicopters H225M as it is nearing a large purchase of multi-task choppers for the Air Force.

The ministry explained that the tests to be held in May and June in Poland are to check whether the technical parameters of the helicopter match those declared in the bid. Positive results will allow for the signing of the contract for the purchase of 50 helicopters, the ministry said. Deliveries would start in 2017.

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