US to sell Patriot missile system to Poland

AFP News – The US State Department said Friday it had approved the sale of a Patriot anti-missile system to NATO ally Poland, a move likely to irk Russia.

The State Department said it had notified Congress on November 14 of its approval of the deal, which is worth up to $10.5 billion, and would mark the first time Poland has bought the sophisticated system.

“A secure Europe capable of deterring air and missile threats and other forms of aggression promotes peace and stability within NATO and on the European continent,” officials said in a statement.

Congress has 15 days to raise any objections to the deal, though that would be unlikely given the close military-to-military relationship with Poland.

The total deal includes up to four radar sets, four control stations, 16 launching stations, 208 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, as well as additional equipment, training and spare parts.

The Patriot is a mobile air-defense system made by Raytheon and designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, low-flying cruise missiles and aircraft.

News of the sale comes after the US military temporarily deployed a Patriot battery in Lithuania as part of multinational NATO exercises in the Baltic country.

Moscow last year deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles into its Kaliningrad exclave, which borders Lithuania and Poland, rattling nearby NATO members.

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