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US Plans $10B Sale of Missile Defense System to Poland

Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) is a command-and-control system designed to provide enhanced aircraft and missile tracking by connecting to any number of radars and interceptors. (Image courtesy Northrop Grumman)
Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) is a command-and-control system designed to provide enhanced aircraft and missile tracking by connecting to any number of radars and interceptors. (Image courtesy Northrop Grumman)

The U.S. plans to sell Poland more than $10 billion in missile defense technology, according to a recent government announcement.

The State Department notified Congress it has approved a potential $10.5 billion sale of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) configured with Patriot missiles and modernized sensors and components, according to a Nov. 17 statement from the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The command-and-control system is developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. and designed to provide enhanced aircraft and missile tracking by connecting to any number of radars and interceptors, including the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

As the centerpiece of the U.S. Army’s planned integrated air and missile defense technology, IBCS’ open architecture is designed to be compatible with “any shooter, any sensor.” The system in August completed a development test at Fort Bliss, Texas, targeting “hundreds of tactical ballistic missile threats” using different radars and interceptors, according to Northrop.

The foreign military sale to Poland calls for AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, M903 launching stations and hundreds of PAC-3 MSE missiles, among other components.

In a foreign military sale, known in military parlance as FMS, the U.S. buys weapons or equipment on behalf of a foreign government. Countries approved to participate in the program may obtain military hardware or services by using their own funding or money provided through U.S.-sponsored assistance programs, according to the agency’s website.

Poland is in the midst of a decade-long, $35 billion program to outfit its armed forces with updated equipment, from tanks and helicopters to missile defense systems, according to the Congressional Research Service.

While maintaining close relationships with NATO allies including the U.S. is key to its defense strategy, Poland has also signaled interest in preparing to “defend itself without immediate assistance from its allies,” according to a 2016 report from CRS.

The possible transaction marks the latest missile-defense effort by the Poles.

The government of Poland in 2016 broke ground on an “Aegis-Ashore” site designed to house radar and a couple of dozen SM-3 interceptors and expected to be completed in 2018, according to CRS.

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