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In Biggest Deal Yet, UK and Polish Firms Ink $4.9b Contract for Next-Gen Air Defense System

WARSAW — Major defense contractors in the United Kingdom and Poland today finalized a landmark, $4.9 billion-plus agreement to develop a “next generation” extended-range air defense system for Poland, a move the British Ministry of Defence tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“UK firm MBDA has signed the sub-contract with Polish defence company PGZ, in a programme that will provide Polish forces with an enhanced ground-based air defence system capable of launching missiles to engage air threats, such as cruise missiles and fighter jets, at ranges of more than 40 kilometres,” the MoD said in an announcement. “Bolstering security and defence development for both NATO countries, the deal is the largest commercial agreement ever secured between the UK and Poland.”

The UK said the deal will “create” more than 1,000 Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles Extended Range (CAMM-ER) and over 100 iLaunchers.” In April, MBDA and state-owned PGZ struck a similar $2.4 billion deal for short-range air defenses, which the UK hailed at the time as the “largest European short-range air defence acquisition programme in NATO.”

Today the UK MoD said the new deal will “bolster European security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The air defense program, dubbed NAREW, will be made possible in part after MBDA and PGZ concluded terms for the “unprecedented transfer of key technologies and knowledge” from the British firm to its Polish counterpart, MBDA said in a statement.

“The scale and ambition of NAREW is truly impressive — building a Polish air defence shield using our CAMM family missiles and iLaunchers that will protect the entirety of Poland’s skies,” Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said. “The transfer of technology in NAREW will be transformative for Poland’s sovereign complex weapons capabilities, and we are deeply proud of the trust placed in us by Poland and excited for the future of our partnership with the eleven members of the PGZ-NAREW Consortium.”

The signing of the deal is the latest major milestone in an agreement reached in 2021 between London and Warsaw for the two to cooperate on Poland’s future air defense, during which MBDA’s CAMM system was already selected for the program.

“Britain and Poland have historically stood side by side against a range of threats and will continue to deepen our partnership,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said at the time. “This agreement will deliver a step change in our defence co-operation with Poland and paves the way for our militaries to operate even more closely.”

Source : Breaking Defence