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Poland to buy Patriot missiles, Airbus helicopters

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Voice of Warsaw: The Polish government will negotiate the purchase of Raytheon’s Patriot system for its planned missile defense shield with the American government, President Bronislaw Komorowski said following a meeting with PM Ewa Kopacz and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

On Tuesday the government decided to choose the Patriot over the Aster 30, a system offered by a European consortium of MBDA and the Thales Group. It will now enter exclusive talks with the U.S. government on the Patriot anti-missile system.

“The Council of Ministers, on the recommendation of National Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, has selected the US Patriot missiles for Poland’s medium range missile defense system,” the statement reads. “At the same time the Council of Ministers has authorized the Minister of National Defense to further negotiate and conclude the agreement with the US authorities on behalf of the government of Poland.”

The competition was based on an analysis of “technical criteria, military cooperation, transfer of technology and industrial cooperation,” the statement added.

The Polish defense minister will travel to the US in May to negotiate the Patriot deal. Warsaw wants to receive two patriot batteries within three years after the deal is signed and five more by 2025, the Defense Ministry said on its website Tuesday.

The decision to bet on the Unites States as a partner in the construction of Poland’s air-defense system tightens Polish-American alliance, Siemoniak said.

The choice will secure defense of the Polish sky from the moment the contract is signed, deputy Defense Minister Czeslaw Mroczek said in an interview for the daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

In an ongoing helicopter tender the government decided to test Caracal machines produced by the French Airbus Helicopters company. According to Mroczek, the French offer was the only one that met Poland’s requirements.

Commenting the decisions, President Komorowski said that military modernization was important in face of the security concern caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“For the armed forces’ technical modernization, and the Polish armed forces’ resilience, to be effective, the so-called anti-missile shield had to become the top priority,” Komorowski said.