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MBDA Wins Major Polish Air Defence Contract

Polish PILICA short range air defence system displayed at MSPO 2022 [© Bob Morrison]

MBDA has been contracted by Poland to supply CAMM missiles and iLaunchers for Poland’s PILICA+ air defence upgrade programme.

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Press Release, Stevenage, 28 April 2023: MBDA has been contracted by the Polish Armament Agency to supply CAMM missiles and iLaunchers for Poland’s PILICA+ air defence upgrade programme.

In total, MBDA will provide missiles and missile launchers valued at £1.9 billion to support Poland’s modernisation and manufacture of a total of 22 PILICA+ air defence batteries – making it the largest European short-range air defence acquisition programme in NATO.

Designed by PGZ, PILICA+ will combine MBDA’s CAMM short-range radar-guided missiles with Polish-made auto-cannon and very-short range infrared guided missiles into a triple-layer system commanded by a Polish command and control system and guided by Polish radars. PILICA+ will operate as the inner tier of a highly-capable integrated Polish air defence network also including the upper-tier WISLA system and mid-tier NAREW system, which MBDA is also supporting with PGZ.

Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said: “We are deeply proud that Poland is placing CAMM at the core of their layered air defence systems. This landmark Polish-UK cooperation will provide a major boost to Poland’s air defence capabilities and bring our defence industries closer together, enabling sovereignty and supporting jobs in both countries.”

Dismounted MBDA CAMM launcher (known as Land Ceptor in British Army service and part of EMADS or Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions) on display at MSPO 2021 in Kielce [ © Bob Morrison]

CAMM, with its multi-channel, radar-guided, all-weather ability to defeat stressing air threats out to 25 km, will deliver a major enhancement to the capabilities of the Polish PILICA+ system in ensuring the defence of high-value and mobile assets. CAMM first entered service with the UK Armed Forces in 2018, with the CAMM family (including CAMM-ER co-developed with Italy) rapidly proving a success on the international market.

Poland is already a user of MBDA’s CAMM, receiving a first battery in 2022 in response to an urgent requirement called mała (small) NAREW that was successfully delivered by MBDA and PGZ in 6 months. MBDA and PGZ also continue to work towards contracting the technology transfer and Polish manufacture of the mid-tier NAREW air defence programme, utilising the extended range CAMM-ER missile and a common iLauncher solution, and on co-operation on future missiles for higher air defence tiers (through a contract placed in 2022). Poland will benefit from the synergies of operating the CAMM family across multiple domains as these missiles will also equip Poland’s future maritime air defence system on-board the Miecznik-class frigates.

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UK – Poland Missile Export Deal

UK MoD Press Release, Whitehall, 28 April 2023: The UK and Poland have signed a major £1.9 billion export agreement to roll out a British air defence system across the European nation.

UK firm MBDA will complete the landmark deal with the Polish government this morning [Friday 28 April], agreeing to provide Poland with cutting-edge, ground-based-air-defence capabilities that will protect the country for generations to come.

The export win will also support hundreds of jobs across the UK, delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, and deepening ties with our key European ally. The deal is one of the largest bilateral European air defence deals of its kind in NATO and is the culmination of months of close collaboration between the UK and Poland. It will see the UK equip 22 Polish air defence batteries with UK Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMMs) and launchers, under a programme called PILICA+.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We have played a crucial role in boosting Euro-Atlantic defences since Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, and this landmark agreement between the UK and Poland is another example of how, alongside our allies, we are committed to protecting our security for generations to come.

“As well as bolstering European air defences, this £1.9bn deal will also support highly skilled jobs in both countries, delivering on my pledge to grow the economy, and creating better paid jobs and opportunity right across the UK.”

The sophisticated missiles can be deployed to protect high value, mobile assets such as deployed military forces or critical national infrastructure.

MBDA’s British-designed CAMM is the latest generation air defence system in service with both the British Army and Royal Navy. It is already deployed to Poland with the British Army to protect its airspace following Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine. The system can engage advanced air and missile targets up to 25km away and is capable of hitting a tennis ball-sized object travelling beyond the speed of sound.

The missile deal, which will support more than 500 jobs at MBDA UK, is the latest in a string of defence deals with Poland, including an agreement to collaborate on the procurement and operation of three Arrowhead-140 frigates – a variant of the UK warship, and an agreement to work closely on Air Defence Complex Weapons last year, including an order for the urgent delivery of an initial set of CAMM systems.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said: “I am delighted that the UK and Poland’s deep and historic defence ties take another step forward with the signing of the largest ever UK defence export deal with Poland.

“We are committed to supporting Poland’s defence modernisation plans and this upgraded air-defence programme will ensure that Poland and the UK have the ability to continue safeguarding our people and bolstering NATO security.”

Managing Director of MBDA UK, Chris Allam said: “We are deeply proud that Poland is placing CAMM at the core of their layered air defence systems. This landmark Polish-UK cooperation will provide a major boost to Poland’s air defence capabilities and bring our defence industries closer together, enabling sovereignty and supporting jobs in both countries.”

The UK and Poland are close Allies, with hundreds of British troops deployed to the country at any one time. That includes the recent deployments of Challenger 2 tanks and Sky Sabre air defence systems to Poland.

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