Poland signed a $4.75 billion deal with the United States Wednesday to buy Raytheon’s Patriot air and missile defense system, making this one of the largest arms procurement deal in Poland’s history.
With this deal, Poland will acquire total four Patriot missile units, which will include systems from Northrop Gruman and Lockheed Martin, The Associated Press reports, and will receive the first system in 2022.
“It is an extraordinary, historic moment; it is Poland’s introduction into a whole new world of state-of-the-art technology, modern weaponry, and defensive means,” President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony.
The deal has been ongoing since 2014, with the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, but with the change in government, the new government looked for other options for a medium range system. With heightened tensions with Russia, Poland felt pressured to modernize its systems.
“We are signing today a contract to deliver a modern system that has proven itself in numerous countries and thanks to which we are joining an elite group of states which have an efficient weapon that guarantees security,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said to USA Today.
The new systems will immensely update Poland’s Cold War era weaponry and equipment, increasing security in Poland and its surrounding borders.
The signed letter may even pressure the U.S. to file deals with neighboring countries as well, Reuters reports.
“Poland joins the now 15 nation-strong group of countries which trust Patriot to defend their citizens, military, and sovereignty,” Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, said in a statement March 28. “Poland’s procurement of Patriot strengthens trans-Atlantic partnership and security by enabling a common approach to Integrated Air and Missile Defense, and creating jobs in the U.S. and Poland.”