US approves cruise missiles sale to Poland

US approves cruise missiles sale to Poland

The United States has agreed to authorize the sale of advanced AGM-158 cruise missiles, with the intention of increasing Poland’s deterrence capabilities in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

The AGM-158 is a missile which can be launched from Poland’s fleet of F-16 combat jets and strike ground targets almost 400 km away.
The missiles currently used by Polish F-16s can only hit targets 70 km away.

The sale comes during the ongoing Ukraine crisis on Poland’s borders, which has accelerated a ten year defence modernization plan announced by the government in 2012. Poland aims to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP, the NATO target.

The United States Department of State writes that, “the proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and the national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally. Poland continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Central Europe.”
It added that “Poland will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.”
Poland has requested the right to purchase around 40 missiles. Although they are manufactured by a private company, Lockheed Martin, the US government needs to authorize foreign weapon exports.

Apart from the missiles a request from Poland to upgrade its 48 F-16s has also been approved. The total cost of the modernizations is estimated at $500 million.
Poland has already spent almost $5 billion on its F-16 fleet, with the final payment due for next year. The government is currently considering purchasing even more advanced planes in the near future, with both the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35 jet as possible contenders.

Source: PAP

Zdj. Prezydenci Polski i USA na lotnisku Okęciu w czerwcu 2014 fot. EPA/LESZEK SZYMANSKI

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