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Poland orders British-designed air defence system

Poland will buy British surface-to-air missiles as the country strives to enhance its air defences in the wake of the Russian war on Ukraine.

The Polish Defence Ministry’s Armaments Agency (AU) signed a deal to buy Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMMs) and launchers for the Polish Army from MBDA UK, the British subsidiary of the pan-European missile systems producer.

The contract between AU and MBDA provides for the delivery of 44 iLaunchers and several hundred CAMM missiles for Poland’s PILICA+ air defence upgrade programme in the years 2025-2029, Krzysztof Platek, a spokesman for AU wrote on Twitter on Friday. 

MBDA said in a press statement on Friday that the deal valued at GBP 1.9 billion (EUR 2.16 bln) “will support Poland’s modernisation and manufacture of a total of 22 PILICA+ air defence batteries – making it the largest European short-range air defence acquisition programme in Nato.”

The British-designed system can engage air and missile targets up to 25 kilometres away, according to MBDA. 

Commenting on the deal, Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, wrote on Twitter: “Another step in the PILICA+ programme. This is a step-up in the ability to strike air targets and increase the capabilities of Polish air defence.”

The British defence minister, Ben Wallace, said in a statement on Friday: “I am delighted that the UK and Poland’s deep and historic defence ties take another step forward with the signing of the largest ever UK defence export deal with Poland.”

PILICA and PILICA+ are very short-range anti-aircraft missile and artillery systems. Their task is to combat unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, airplanes and cruise missiles at a distance of up to five kilometres. They are used to protect airports and military groups, and to act as a direct defence asset for the Patriot missile batteries.

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