Poland to gain Patriot missile defense radar

The U.S. Army awarded a contract worth more than $1.5 billion for the production of a Patriot missile defense radar to be purchased by Poland, adding another piece to that country’s emerging air defense system.

The Pentagon said that by 2022, defense contractor Raytheon will develop a tracking radar to intercept targets. In March, Poland signed a $4.75 billion contract for at least two Patriot batteries, each with two fire units.

“Patriot will enhance Polish, European and NATO security while creating jobs in Poland and the U.S.,” Raytheon said in a statement Wednesday.

Other NATO countries that operate the Patriot system are the United States, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain. Romania also has reached a deal through the Pentagon to acquire the system.

Poland, which is building up its air defenses because of concerns about a more aggressive Russia, factors into America’s overall missile defense plans in Europe.

The Navy is moving forward with its missile defense site in the northern Polish town of Redzikowo, where work began in 2016.

“We are making progress,” Adm. James Foggo, the commander for U.S. Naval Forces Europe, said during a June visit to the site. “Eventually, by 2020, this place will be turned over to the U.S. Naval Forces and we will bring it to life.”

The U.S. effort in Poland is part of an initiative that integrates sea and land-based systems in Romania and Poland to counter intermediate range missiles.

Initially, the project called for an additional phase to counter intercontinental threats aimed at the U.S. But in 2013, the U.S. scrapped those plans in a bid to dampen tensions with Russia, after Moscow argued that such a system would counter its own missile systems.

U.S. officials insist that American missile defense efforts in Europe are directed at threats from the Middle East, such as Iran. Russia, however, suspects that it has been targeted by the initiative.

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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