Poland, 16th country to purchase US-made Patriot air defense missiles

The government of Poland signed an agreement to purchase Raytheon's combat proven Patriot air defense missiles from the U.S. Army. The agreement, formally referred to as a Letter of Offer and Acceptance, paves the way for Poland's Patriot force to rapidly reach Initial Operational Capability, and sets the stage for the U.S. government to begin contract negotiations with Raytheon and its industry partners.

Poland 16th country to deploy Patriot air defense missiles
 PATRIOT is the backbone of NATO and Europe's defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced aircraft and drones (Picture source DVIDS)

"Poland joins the now 15-nation-strong group of countries which trust Patriot to defend their citizens, military and sovereignty," said Wes Kremer, President of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. "Poland's procurement of Patriot strengthens Trans-Atlantic partnership and security by enabling a common approach to Integrated Air and Missile Defense, and creating jobs in the US and Poland."

PATRIOT stands for “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target”. It is the backbone of NATO and Europe's defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced aircraft and drones. NATO Nations with Patriots are: The US, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain currently have Patriot. On Nov. 29th, Romania signed an LOA for Patriot, making it the 6th NATO member state to procure Patriot. Additionally, a Congressional notification regarding a potential Patriot sale to Sweden has been completed.

Patriot in Poland: Prior to signing the LOA, Poland agreed to an industrial-participation proposal offered by Raytheon and its industry partners. To facilitate Poland's self-sufficiency, which is required by Polish law, Raytheon will transfer technology to the extent permitted by US law and regulations.

This LOA is for Phase I of "WISLA," Poland's two-phase medium-range Integrated Air and Missile Defense procurement. Under Phase II, Poland has stated it intends to acquire additional Patriot fire units, Gallium-Nitride-based 360-degree Active Electronically Scanning Array Radar, and SkyCeptor, a low-cost interceptor missile.

The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. Patriot uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high performance radar systems. The Patriot system is modular and highly mobile. A battery-sized element can be emplaced in less than 1 hour. The role of the Patriot is to defend against airborne threats as part of an integrated air and missile defence system. Notable characteristics of the missile system include a short response time, the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously, good ground mobility, and the ability to resist electronic jamming.

The first Patriot air defence systems were deployed by U.S. Forces in the mid-1980s. During the first Gulf War, it was used to defend against the Iraqi Scud missile threat. The Patriot system has evolved over the years as the threat has changed and technology has advanced. The current variants are equipped with advanced interceptor missiles and high performance radar systems. 

The latest variant in the Patriot missile family, the PAC-3 missile has increased effectiveness against tactical ballistic and cruise missiles, through the use of advanced hit-to-kill technology. It can destroy aerial targets flying at a maximum range of 160 km and ballistic missiles at a maximum range of 35, at a maximum flight altitude of 24,200m.