Poland to buy US rocket system for $414 million
On 10 February 2019 Poland said it will buy mobile rocket launchers worth $414 million (€365 million) from the US, as Warsaw seeks closer ties with Washington amid concerns over a resurgent Russia.
The deal, due to be signed 13 February 2019, will ‘significantly increase the Polish army's capacities,’ Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told journalists 10 February 2019, adding that delivery was expected by 2023.
It is already used by 19 countries and has been deployed in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State group, allowing US troops a precision attack ability even in poor weather when air attacks are hindered.
In March 2018, Warsaw signed a $4.75 billion contract to purchase a US-made Patriot anti-missile system.
Poland's right-wing government has been pushing for the US to open a permanent military base on its soil, where US troops are already stationed on a rotational basis as part of NATO operations.
However, the head of the US Army said in September 2018 that Poland might not be ready for a permanent military base because of an apparent lack of space to fulfil the training requirements for US soldiers.
In 2017, NATO opened a counter-espionage hub in Poland aimed at expanding the alliance's intelligence-gathering capabilities following tensions with Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea. The US-led alliance has also bolstered its forces in eastern Europe with four international battalions acting as tripwires against possible Russian adventurism in the region.
Poland is set to host US Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a two-day conference on security issues in the Middle East. Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, close advisors to US President Donald Trump, are also expected to attend the event starting 12 February 2019, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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