Poland signed the largest weapons procurement deal in its history on Wednesday, agreeing with the United States to buy Raytheon Co’s Patriot missile defense system for $4.75 billion as it modernizes its forces to face a bolder Russia.
“It is an extraordinary, historic moment; it is Poland’s introduction into a whole new world of state-of-the-art technology, modern weaponry, and defensive means,” Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony.
NATO member Poland has sped up efforts to overhaul its armory following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and Moscow’s renewed military and political assertiveness in the region. Two-thirds of Polish weaponry dates from the era when the country was in the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact.
The Patriot deal comes as a relief for Poland which remains in tense relations with Washington, its main NATO ally, over a bill that Warsaw introduced in January to impose jail terms for any suggestion of Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust.
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