During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the US Administration’s support regarding the Patriot systems, within the scope of their application in case of the Medium Range Air Defence Systems programme, also known as “Wisła”. Stephen D. Mull, US Ambassador in Poland, was a special guest of the meeting. Mull stated that Patriot is a system which may be treated as a “backbone of the European air defences”, and that this system is being used by five countries in Europe (four European users, along with the US Army).
Mull described the “Wisła” programme as a perfect opportunity to quicken and deepen the cooperation between Poland and the US. Ambassador stated that Poland, by selecting the Patriot system, would bolster and enhance the US industrial and military presence in Poland, which is a key strategic goal.
When it comes to the technical and economic issues, development of the AESA radar for the Patriot missiles, and increase of the Patriot missile capabilities provided by the Patriot Next Generation missiles, development of which is to be financed by the Raytheon company, along with the US Government and foreign buyers, including Poland, has been stressed. We have not been able to get answers regarding the costs, and how the costs may get higher, should the Germans, who are one of the NATO framework nations dealing with the air defence systems, resign from the Patriot missiles during the development of their own TLVS programme (Taktisches Luftverteidigungs System – Tactical Air Defence System).
Dan Crowley, President of the Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems company, is convinced that the Germans will modernize their Patriot missiles, instead of pursuing the new MEADS programme, some elements of which, such as launchers or Iris-T missiles, could be used in the German modernization of the Patriot system. President of the Raytheon IDS company is also certain, that the Patriot Next Generation would be the winner of the Polish “Wisła” tender.
Crowley stated that he has heard that selection of proper missile within the “Wisła” programme is to be made in June. He added that then, prices and industrial involvement would be negotiated, hence he expects that the Raytheon IDS company would be selected as the main contractor this year.
Dan Crowley also stated that introduction of the medium range air defences acquired within the “Wisła” programme is planned to happen in 2 phases. Starting from 2018, the systems are to be supplied in the variant that would be used at the moment, while the target systems, should the Raytheon Patriot Next Generation offer be selected, according to the plans, would be developed with the Polish industry and shall become available within the period between 2020 and 2022.