Poland spends $1 billion on US-made surveillance aerostats

Poland spends  billion on US-made surveillance aerostats

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s Ministry of National Defence announced it has signed a deal to buy four aerostat-based early warning radar systems from the United States under a deal worth almost $1 billion.

“Poland will be the second country in the world to use such a system,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said at a press conference today, as quoted in a statement released by his ministry. “These aerostats will be financed by a loan provided by the United States.”

The U.S. Army uses aerostats under its Persistent Surveillance System – Tethered program, according the service’s website.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Poland has ramped up its efforts to acquire new weapons and military gear for the nation’s armed forces. Under the plan, the four aerostats will be deployed to Polish military bases in the country’s eastern and north-eastern parts where Poland borders Belarus and Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad, according to the national defense ministry.

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The ordered systems “have the capacity to detect a wide range of objects, such as missiles, aircraft, drones, and seaborne units,” the ministry said.

In February 2024, the U.S. Department of State approved the foreign military sale, and it was subsequently authorized by Congress.

In a statement, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the principal contractors for this procurement will include Raytheon Intelligence and Space, TCOM, ELTA North America, and QinetiQ’s subsidiary Avantus Federal. Deliveries under the contract will cover airspace and surface radar reconnaissance aerostat systems, airborne early warning radars, as well as related equipment and logistics, according to the agency.

Manufacturer TCOM received a $450 million contract in 2021 to provide Saudi Arabia with 10 sensor-laden aerostats for communications and intelligence, according to the company’s website.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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