On September 15 the Polish – American missile defence plan entered force. According to its resolution, US will place a land–based SM-3 interceptors on Polish soil. Missiles will be placed in a small military base near a city of Redzikowo in northern Poland. It will be a part of a broad US missile system in Europe.
The agreement on the missile system located in Poland was previously singed in 2008. It was to establish a military base for ten long range ballistic missile launchers and a radar base in Czech Republic. Under the 2009 president Obama’s announcement of the European Phased Adaptive Approach for limited missile defence, the previous arrangements became out of date.
Under the 2010 protocol signed by US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton and Polish Foreign Ministry Radoslaw Sikorski in Krakow, both sides agreed to replace the long range missile launcher concept with medium range SM-3 interceptors. Polish base will become operational in 2018. Before that US plan to set a military base for SM-3 in Romania. It should take place till 2015.
One of the conditions for the Polish – US agreement was an upgrade of Polish air – defence system. The equipment which is currently being used is mostly obsolete, built in old soviet technology. Current NATO intervention in Libya only confirmed that this king of armament is not efficient anymore, especially when confronted with modern weaponry, such as 4th generation fighters.
Washington agreed to strengthen Polish air – defence by handing over a number of Patriot missile batteries. It is not yet known exactly how many of them will be acquired by Polish army or where would they come from. At the beginning of this year a source in Polish MoD signalized that it is possible that Poland may receive a number of German Patriot batteries in older PAC-2 version. This information hasn’t yet been confirmed though.
Nevertheless, since last year US Army has been conducting a number of training programs for Polish air- defence units. A battery of Patriots is visiting Poland once in every three or four months in order to familiarize soldiers with the technology and standard operating procedures. US soldiers already visited units in Mragowo and Torun in the north of the country. Latest visit is currently taking place in the one of most popular tourist city – Ustka located at the Baltic Sea. The unit consisting of hundred twenty soldiers will stay in Poland for one month.