Poland Negotiated Better Deal for Patriot Missile System, Defense Minister Says
The Polish National Defense Ministry has secured an unspecified cost reduction in Patriot missile defense systems from the United States.
A top Polish defense official previously blasted the $10.5 billion price tag for 208 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, 16 launchers, a few radars and other associated software systems as "unacceptable" in December.
Newly minted Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce some "good news about the Wisla program" for enhanced missile defense.
"We obtained a lower price and accelerated delivery time. The reduction of costs does not limit the assumed combat capabilities of the system. We are on track to sign a contract with the end of the first quarter of 2018," Blaszczak tweeted.
On January 9, Antoni Macierewicz was dismissed from his role as national defense minister. Blaszczak, formerly the Polish interior minister, was slotted into Macierewicz's place as part of a cabinet reshuffle initiated by Poland's new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
Warsaw is seeking eight Patriot missile batteries in total on a budget of 30 billion zlotys, or roughly $9 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency first notified Congress that the sale of two such Patriot batteries would tally 37 billion zlotys, already about $1.5 billion above budget.
"The price is indeed unacceptable for us even in view of the significant financial assets that we allocated for technical modernization of the Polish Armed Forces," Bartosz Kownacki, secretary of state within the Polish Ministry National Defense, told Defense News on December 5. "We simply cannot afford to spend that much money on the procurement of two batteries and PAC-3 missiles for such an amount of money," the official said.
As Defense News reports, Poland was unsatisfied with Raytheon's shelf-ready PAC-3 missile system and has sought a command-and-control system that the US Army hasn't event finished developing yet with Northrop Grumman called the "Integrated Battle Command System." Warsaw has also been firm in asking for certain technology information to help develop Poland's domestic defense industrial base.
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