June 26, 2018


In 1999, Poland joined NATO to enhance its strategic defense against external threats.[i] From 2002-2009, Poland engaged in talks with the United States and European countries to build a US missile defense complex in Poland. The missile defense complex in Poland, known as the European Interceptor Site, would have been a part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system that intercepted long-range missiles from Iran.

In October 2009, the Obama administration replaced the European Intercept Site plan with the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). On September 15, 2011, a joint statement between the U.S. and Poland was released that fulfilled the earlier agreements of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Agreement of 2008 and its Amending Protocol of 2010.  The agreements included the deployment of land-based SM-3 systems in Poland to go into immediate effect.

On April 22, 2011, Polish President Komorowski signed legislation ratifying the Agreement to integrate land-based SM-3 Block IIA interceptors in Poland by 2018.[ii] In March 2018, it was announced that the Aegis Ashore site would be delayed two years and is now expected in 2020.

Poland’s Air Defense Capabilities

System Role Number Deployed Platform
SA-6 Gainful  Low to medium-level air defense  Unknown Ground-based, road-mobile  
 SA-8 Gecko Low altitude, short-range air defense Unknown Ground-based, road-mobile  
SA-5 Gammon (S-200) Medium to high-altitude air defense One battery Ground-based  
SA-3 Goa Short-Range Air Defense 12 Systems Ground-Based; Road-Mobile
SA-4 Ganef Medium-Range Air Defense Unknown Ground-Based; Road-Mobile
ZSU-23-4MP Biala Short-Range Air Defense 70 Systems Ground-Based; Road-Mobile
ZU-23-2 Short-Range Air Defense 44 Systems and some naval variants Ground-Based; Road-Mobile

Current Developments

In the wake of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, in April 2015 Poland announced it would acquire Raytheon’s Patriot missile defense system for an estimated $5.4 billion contract to create a national missile shield in addition to the US missile shield planned for 2018 to protect Europe.[iii] Poland’s efforts to modernize its domestic defense and upgrade its Integrated Air and Missile Defense will contribute to the NATO air and missile defense mission.

The Raytheon contract includes the latest Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile which is capable of intercepting cruise missiles and short to intermediate range ballistic missiles. The Polish Defense Ministry announced intent to purchase eight batteries by 2025, with two delivered within three years of a final deal.[iv]

In response to Russia’s plan to rearm the missile brigade in the Kaliningrad province, Poland announced its desire to deploy additional batteries of Patriot anti-air defense systems in the area, in August 2017.[v] The agreement was signed in November 2017 and the first Patriot battery might delivered as early as 2019.[vi] A second deal was signed in March 2018, with batteries expected as early as 2022.

In addition to the U.S. BMD system, an Aegis Ashore, will be built near Redzikowo as part of Phase III of EPAA. Planned for completion by 2020, the Aegis Ashore site will be equipped with SPY-1 radar and 24 SM-3 missiles. The phased plan includes SM-3 Block IIA interceptors, which will give the system “an enhanced capability to address intermediate-range ballistic missiles and a limited capability to address intercontinental missiles” to support the defense of Northern Europe.[vii] The EPAA Phase III site, combined with the rest of the EPAA assets, will be able to protect nearly all of NATO Europe against ballistic missile threats from the Middle East.

In January of 2015, the United States and Israel opened talks between Israeli defense manufacturer Rafael and Poland regarding the David’s Sling Weapons System. This system would allow Poland to shoot down short-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. Poland may now begin working on developing the system in conjunction with these two allied nations. In June 2017, Poland purchased interceptor missiles from Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system to be integrated with the Patriot defense system.[viii]

On July 26, 2022, 6 of the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptors landed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, before they were sent to Poland. The Air Force said that the F-22s “will provide a near seamless shield from the Baltic to Black Seas, ensuring NATO Allies are better able to safeguard and protect Alliance territory, populations and forces from air and missile threat.”

Recent News


[i] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/13/world/expanding-alliance-the-overview-poland-hungary-and-the-czechs-join-nato.html

[ii] https://www.opednews.com/Diary/The-Missile-Defense-Review-by-arn-specter-110506-930.html?f=The-Missile-Defense-Review-by-arn-specter-110506-930.html

[iii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/04/21/poland-picks-raytheon-for-billion-deal-polish-newspaper-says/iwTHaVuDvMZKCkbm0HmJZP/story.html

[iv] Ibid.

[v] http://uawire.org/news/polish-foreign-minister-poland-to-buy-patriot-missile-defense-system-from-us-because-of-iskanders-in-kaliningrad

[vi] https://sputniknews.com/military/201711021058757418-poland-us-patriot-battery-ministry/

[vii] https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/759662/work-joins-groundbreaking-for-ballistic-missile-defense-site-in-poland/

[viii] https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/91199/poland-purchase-israeli-missiles-new-us-defense-deal/#/