Poland to buy US Patriot system with Israeli-made missiles
Warsaw insists on David's Sling interceptor missile due to its considerably cheaper price and better performance; Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which developed the missile along with the American Raytheon, is expected to make $1 billion from the deal.
A deal Poland is expected to sign with the United States to buy the Patriot missile system includes interceptor missiles from Israel's David Sling system.
The deal with US firm Raytheon, worth up to $7.6 billion, will see Poland buy eight Patriot missile defense systems by the end of the year.
Poland's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz announced the deal on Thursday morning, during US President Donald Trump's visit to Warsaw.
"A memorandum was signed tonight that the US government has agreed to sell Poland Patriot missiles in the most modern configuration," Macierewicz said in a news conference broadcast on public television on Thursday morning.
The deal is expected to be finalized in November of this year.
Poland demanded the Israeli interceptor missile, which was developed with Raytheon and is marketed in the world under the name "SkyCeptor," because of its better performance compared to the American Patriot interceptor and its considerably lower price, which stands at only 10 percent of the price of the American counterpart—$450,000 compared to $4.5 million.
With the approval of the Israeli Defense Ministry and the American Department of Defense, Raytheon agreed to another Polish demand to have the missiles manufactured on its soil.
Warsaw will also buy a small amount of American interceptors to allow for an earlier deployment of the Patriot missile defense system, while work is being done to integrate the Israeli missile to the American system.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Israeli company that developed David's Sling, is expected to make some $1 billion from this deal, which makes it one of the biggest in the company's history. Poland, meanwhile, will become the first export client of David Sling's interceptor missile.
The European Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), offered to the Poles by the American Lockheed Martin, lost the bid to the Patriot.
And while David's Sling interceptor missiles will be included in the deal, the missile defense system itself, as well as the Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Arrow system, were barred by Washington from bidding in the Polish tender. The American administration, which funded the development of both Israeli-made systems, did not approve their export to Warsaw.
Poland, a member of the NATO defense alliance, has been looking to upgrade and modernize its armed forces in response to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, fearing Moscow will set its sights to Warsaw next.
With the SkyCeptor missile, the Patriot system could intercept planes, helicopters, heavy rockets and ballistic missiles in a range of up to 300 km.
Pending Israeli deals with Poland, India
According to foreign reports, the Polish Defense Ministry is also in talks with IAI on the purchase of two Ofek intelligence satellites. Such a deal could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rafael has also reportedly reached a deal to sell anti-tank Spike missiles to the Indian army, according to reports in the country.
At the moment, New Delhi is planning to buy some 8,000 missiles and some 300 launchers, but the Indians have long-term intentions to buy some 40,000 missiles. In its initial stage, the deal is worth at least $500 million.
The Spike missiles deal, along with another $400 million deal to purchase 10 Heron TP drones from IAI, is awaiting the approval of the Indian cabinet. The Israeli defense companies are hoping the successful visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi to Israel will expedite the process.
Meanwhile, Raytheon and Rafael are also working on a version for export of the Iron Dome system, under the name "SkyHunter."
Reuters contributed to this report.