WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has approved a possible $15 billion sale to Poland of an integrated air and missile defense system that includes the U.S. Army’s 360-degree threat detection sensor, which is still in development, according to a June 28 announcement.
The sale, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, would include the RTX-made Patriot Configuration-3+ with modernized sensors and components including 48 Patriot launch stations; 644 Lockheed Martin-manufactured Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles; and 12 Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensors, or LTAMDS, which RTX is developing for the U.S. Army.
Amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Poland is clambering to buy high-end defense capabilities. It reached an agreement with the U.S. in 2018 to buy RTX-made Patriot systems bolstered by an advanced battle command system that the U.S. Army was still developing.
Poland’s first order, which includes two Patriot Configuration-3+ batteries, came with a $4.75 billion price tag. As part of the deal, Northrop Grumman delivered two firing batteries of its Integrated Battle Command System, which was delivered to Poland earlier this year and will be operational by the end of the summer. Poland will be the first country to operationalize IBCS, ahead of the U.S. Army, which funded and oversaw the development of the Northrop-made system.
IBCS is not included in this latest potential deal.
The possible sale marks the entrance of the second phase of Poland’s pursuit to establish a robust midrange air defense capability under its Wisla program. Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced in May 2022 that his country would launch that second phase of the program, which would cover the acquisition of three divisions — or six batteries of the Patriot system to include the U.S. Army’s LTAMDS, which is still in the prototyping phase.
The Army has struggled with the LTAMDS prototype delivery schedule. RTX ran into problems building the first radars during the pandemic, but the service still aims to deliver at least four of them by the end of 2023. An operational assessment of the sensor is expected in the latter portion of fiscal 2024.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.