UK Signs £4bn Air Defence Deal with Poland

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain and Poland have agreed to a £4bn (£3bn) air defence contract, which is the largest export contract ever between the two nations.

The UK will provide Polish forces with an air defence system that can counter threats like cruise missiles or fighter jets from a distance of over 40km. The system is known as CAMM-ER or Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles Extended Range, and it’s manufactured by European missile manufacturer MBDA.

MBDA’s UK Division and the Polish defence manufacturer PGZ have agreed to a subcontract that will see MBDA exporting more than 1,000 CAMM ER missiles, as well as 100 launchers. The UK and Italy will jointly develop the missiles.

This is MBDA’s largest export contract ever. It follows a £1.9bn deal in April for shorter-range missiles as part of Poland’s future air defense programme, Narew.

Grant Shapps, UK Defence Secretary said: “This is a crucial step for our historical defence ties with Poland. We are providing next-generation air-defence capability to act as a deterrent against our adversaries.”

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia , Poland’s former nationalist government has increased its military purchases from South Korea and the US.

After years of collaboration, the agreement is the result of a close partnership between both nations. At any given time, hundreds of British soldiers are in the country. Recently, the UK sent Sky Sabre air defense systems and Challenger 2 tanks to Poland.

The air defence system also uses the US Integrated Battle Command System, as well as Polish radars. According to the UK Ministry of Defence, this partnership will involve British engineers from Bolton and Bristol working with their Polish counterparts. They will share key technologies, support jobs and essential skills in both countries, and work together for over 15 years.

In a press release, the MoD said that “UK stands alongside Poland to defend Nato’s eastern flank” and supports Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Chris Allam of MBDA UK said that the “technology transfer in Narew” will transform Poland’s complex weapons capability.

MBDA’s owners are BAE Systems, Airbus and Leonardo, who each own 37.5% of the company.