The US Department of State has approved a request from Poland to source military equipment worth $4bn (17.4bn zlotys) for its Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS).

Also known as the WISŁA programme, Poland’s air defence network is a two-phase IAMD expansion programme that will begin its second phase.

This phase will see companies in the Central European country acquire offsets from the principal contractor Northrop Grumman for 93 Engagement Operation Centres (EOCs) and 175 IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network relays, among other supplementary equipment and training.

At the end of August, the Polish Ministry of National Defence signed various offset agreements with Lockheed Martin and RTX for the second phase of the WISŁA programme.

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Poland’s air defence currently comprises critical elements such as the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 missiles and Lower Tier Air and Missile Defence Sensor (LTAMDS) radar, as well as its $1.9bn purchase of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) and 22 PILICA+ air defence batteries from MBDA UK.

Implementation of this Foreign Military Sale will require approximately 40 US government and/or 45 contractor representatives to travel to Poland for equipment de-processing and fielding, system checkout, training, and technical and logistics support.

Balancing Europe’s ‘Skyshield’ with a diverse portfolio of systems

The invasion of Ukraine has galvanised the modernisation of European air defence systems. Poland is one of ten countries that are part of the European Sky shield Initiative (ESSI), lead by Germany, that uses collective purchasing to reduce the cost of procurement.

However, Poland’s outside participation with CAMM and the Patriot systems will slow down the activity of the ESSI, according to the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW).

Poland is a European nation that is far more inclined toward American-manufactured systems. In fact, Poland has already purchased a distributed interactive simulation-based integration laboratory from the US Department of Defense to become a regional hub for advanced systems used by the US Armed Forces and credited by Nato.

Similarly, Poland’s eastern neighbour Ukraine, a country under brutal siege by indiscriminate Russian strikes, seems to be following suit as the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously stressed the need for more Patriot systems.