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Poland fast-tracks Reapers with a wary eye on its eastern border

28th February 2022 - 15:54 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Poland is ordering an undisclosed number of MQ-9A Reapers as a matter of urgency. (Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class William Rio Rosado)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is directly responsible for moves in Poland to fast-track the acquisition of MQ-9A Reaper MALE UASs, with more possible under the separate Zefir programme.

Polish website Defence 24 reported on 28 February that Poland has ordered MQ-9A Reaper UASs as an urgent acquisition connected directly with the tense security situation on its eastern borders, with Russian forces embedded in Belarus and invading Ukraine.  

No details were given as to how many Reapers would be bought from General Atomics and the procurement cost or timeline, but Shephard Defence Insight gives a unit cost of $25.04 million for the MQ-9A.

The Defence 24 report cited Lt Col Krzysztof Płatek of the Polish Armament Agency as saying that this emergency procurement is not associated with the ongoing Zefir UAV programme.

Shephard reported earlier this month that a procurement process for Zefir will be launched later in 2022 to cover the acquisition of 12 MALE-class reconnaissance and combat UAVs with an operating radius of up to 1,000km.

The Polish Ministry of National Defence has completed analytical and conceptual studies for Zefir, with General Atomics joining Elbit Systems (Hermes 900), and Turkish companies Baykar (Akinci) and Turkish Aerospace (Anka) as potential bidders.

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