As part of a foreign military sales (FMS) agreement, Poland has purchased a distributed intercative simulation-based systems integration laboratory from the US Department of Defense (DoD).
The DoD has contracted Northrop Grumman to complete the $19.7m contract in Poland by 7 June 2025.
A simulation laboratory allows the Polish Armed Forces, alongside its US partner, to test and verify components that can be used in different weapon systems.
The central European country has been a rising star of defence expansion having secured an acquisition programme for South Korean Hanwha platforms; a more independent defence industrial base and its foreign policy tilt toward the US compared to its western European counterparts.
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A deal for a systems integration laboratory consolidates the country’s expanding defence programme. The facility will enable Poland to establish closer military ties with the US and Nato partners with the testing of new standard system components.
Integrating modular components with partners will save money by avoiding the costs of custom components.
But notably, this facility marks a stronger relationship with the US as the DoD can more easily maintain and sustain Poland’s similar weapon systems closer to Russian forces. It will also ensure that both countries keep pace with integrating emerging technologies to their systems.
A strategic partnership
Poland’s defence strategy recognises the US as a strategic partner amid the Russia-Ukraine war. The US has become an important supplier of advanced military equipment and an influential partner that shares the same interests as Poland.
Currently, the US has approximately $20bn in active government-to-government sales cases with Poland under the FMS system.
Recent sales include: M1A2 main battle tanks, Javelin missiles and Javelin command launch unit, 32 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike fighters, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), F-16 follow-on support, AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM).
The deal for the laboratory follows President Joe Biden’s historic announcement at the June Nato Summit in Madrid that the US Army V Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, an Army garrison headquarters, will be permanently stationed in Poland. These forces represent the first permanently stationed US forces on Nato’s eastern flank
In this light, the laboratory serves a great purpose for the US Army as much as it does for more sophisticated Polish systems.
System integration on simulation
According to GlobalData, Poland is the second largest spender on land simulation training after the US. The intelligence company forecast a spending increase from $14.8m to $22.7m between 2022 and 2026.
Nato also tells us that a distributed simulation system such as Poland’s latest facility is important for “improving the interoperability, reuse and cost-effectivness of modelling and simulation when integrating solutions to support Nato.”
Building closer ties with the DoD may invest greater interoperability with sophisticated and emerging technologies, but Poland should also be wary about the DoD’s lack of accountability. The US Government Accountability Office announced that the DoD incurs losses worth millions of dollars due to a lack of accountability over parts for the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet programme.
With a dubious lack of oversight over the most expensive and sophisticated aircraft programme in the world, it may be in Poland’s interest to ensure the DoD takes a limited role in bringing about the benefits of the system integration laboratory.