The State Department has approved the first phase of a long-awaited sale of the Patriot air and missile defense system to Poland in a deal worth up to $10.5 billion, as the NATO ally also plans to buy into the U.S. Army's delayed integrated fire-control network program.
The proposed sale includes four AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, four engagement control stations, 16 launching stations and 208 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, according to a Nov. 17 Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement. The State Department notified Congress of the approval on Nov. 14.
The deal is the first phase of a two-phase program, according to the announcement. Poland first announced its intention to buy the Patriot system in April 2015 after a lengthy selection process. At the time, Polish officials said the country would purchase eight Patriot batteries through 2025.
Poland is also buying into the U.S. Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) to serve as the backbone network for its Patriot batteries. The sale would include IBCS software, six "current operations" IBCS engagement operations centers and two "future operations" EOCs, according to the DSCA announcement.
However, the IBCS failed during user testing in 2016, and the Army pushed back a production decision planned for earlier this year, Inside Defense previously reported. The service plans to fix the system's issues and conduct another user test before seeking permission to transition to production.
Northrop Grumman is developing the IBCS, while Raytheon builds Patriot launchers and Lockheed Martin manufactures PAC-3 missiles. Both Raytheon and Lockheed manufacture the AN/MPQ-65 radar.
A State Department official said the potential sale would help make Europe more secure.
"If this proposed sale is concluded, Poland will have greater flexibility to conduct air and missile defense operations with the United States and other NATO allies that also possess the Patriot system," the official said in a Nov. 17 statement. The United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Greece also operate the Patriot system.
The official also hinted the deal is geared toward bolstering Poland's capabilities against Russia.
"We are proud to work extremely closely with our Polish allies in confronting common challenges, from Afghanistan to Ukraine, and we will continue to do so," the official said.