Poland is developing an ambitious, multi billion dollar program of modernizing its armed forces, which is attracting several Israeli-based companies, including Elbit Systems, Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), all of which are attending this year’s MSPO exhibition in Kielce in south central Poland (halfway between Częstochowa and Lublin).
Israel Sharon, IAI’s marketing manager for Poland, told Shephard Media that Israel’s defense strategy “seems to be similar to Polish strategic thinking. More emphasis is put on the national indigenous defense capacity, strongly embedded in an alliance, but able to stand alone in deterring any aggression.”
Elbit Systems is looking to sell Poland its Hermes 450 medium size multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicle, designed for tactical long endurance missions.
The Raytheon Company, a major US defense contractor, announced on Tuesday that it had offered to sell to Poland the SkyCeptor interceptor, a modified version of the Stunner interceptor, jointly developed by Israel and the US, which is in production and field testing by the IDF as part of the David’s Sling system, Shephard reported. Skyceptor will be integrated with the Patriot air and missile defense system.
Poland would be using its version of the David’s Sling system as part of the Wisla missile defense program. In July, Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ signed a letter of intent with Raytheon to cooperate on Poland’s new missile defense program Wisla, which included acquisition of Patriot missiles. Now Raytheon expects Wisla to be getting the green light from the Polish Ministry of Defense, which will submit a formal letter of request (LOR) to the US to purchase the Patriot.
John Baird, Raytheon’s VP of Poland programs, told reporters in Kielce that the inclusion of the SkyCeptor interceptor as part of the Patriot package is a cheaper option against “short-to-medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced air defense threats.”
“We have embarked over the past three years to produce and develop a US-compliant variant of Stunner,” Raytheon’s Dave Orr explained, adding “we think we can develop within 36 months of contract award SkyCepter missiles for the Polish Armed Forces.”
IAI is also bidding for the modernization of the Polish MiG-29 fighter jets and legacy helicopters. According to Shephard, IAI has already entered into an agreement with the Czech company Retia to produce air defense radar systems.JNi.Media