Poland will sign a $7.5-billion agreement on the purchase of eight Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries by the end of 2017.
"We have completed an important stage having to do with the acquisition of medium-range missiles. No later than at the end of this year, an agreement will be signed for the supply of Patriot missiles," Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz was quoted as saying by Sputnik news Friday.
He said the first deliveries are expected two years after the contract is signed. The PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability) is another upgrade of the Patriot air defense missile system.
The previous PAC-2 was used during the Persian Gulf War to counter Iraqi Scud missiles.
The PAC-2 was regarded as am anti-ballistic missile system. However its capabilities were not enough to intercept more advanced ballistic missiles. So the PAC-3 upgrade was developed by Raytheon with further improved capabilities against ballistic missiles.
The Patriot PAC-3 is a part of three-layer missile defense network. The first line of defense comes from AEGIS missiles, designed to knock-out ballistic missiles in space. If that fails, ballistic missiles are intercepted by THAAD anti-ballistic missile system, just as they re-enter the atmosphere. The final layer of defense is the Patriot PAC-3 missile.
The PAC-3 system can defend against ballistic missiles of all types, however it is less effective against aircraft and air-to surface missiles. This is why it is deployed alongside the Patriot PAC-2 launchers with long-range missiles.