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At MSPO 2020 the US Army has displayed its PATRIOT launcher – catering for four PAC-2 missiles or 16 PAC-3 – for the first time.

Previously, Raytheon has only presented elements of the PATRIOT system at Kielce, but this year – although company representatives have been unable to attend the exhibition due to the pandemic – an M909 HEMTT prime mover is also on display.

Poland will become a PATRIOT customer in the near future, although a much newer version has been procured. Under the WISŁA programme in 2018, Warsaw ordered PATRIOT in a 3+ configuration, incorporating Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS), which won against the competing offer of SAMP/T from Thales and MBDA-France. The Foreign Military Sales procurement is being made in two phases: in the first, Poland is expected to receive two batteries, followed by an additional six in the second phase. Warsaw intends to use the IBCS capability to integrate all Polish air and missile defence assets, not the WISŁA batteries.

Just a few days before MSPO it was announced that Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze (WZL-1), in Łódź, which is primarily responsible for maintaining helicopters and engines, will build a production facility jointly with Lockheed Martin in Dęblin, on the site of the former WZL-3, which was acquired by WZL-1 in 2010. This site will be responsible for production of basic elements in the Polish PAC-3 MSE missiles and will create 20 jobs. Under an agreement signed in 2018 with Lockheed Martin, WZL-1 will be responsible for production and validation of the launcher tube. PAC-3 MSE is to become the backbone of Poland’s PATRIOT batteries but, according to information obtained during MSPO 2020, all costs related to building the facility will be borne by PGZ, which owns WZL-1.

In addition, the US Army is also showing its AH-64 APACHE assault helicopter in Kielce. Boeing is offering the helicopter to Poland by Boeing for the KRUK programme, which seeks to replace the current post-Soviet attack helicopter fleet.

Robert Czulda in Kielce for MON

The US Army’s new PATRIOT launcher accommodates four PAC-2 or 16 PAC-3 missiles. (Photo via author)

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