Poland to become first US ally to manufacture Patriot radars

According to Rzeczpospolita on November 19, 2023, Poland reached an agreement to become the first among the United States' allies to gain the capability to manufacture radar components for the Patriot air defense system. This accomplishment stems from negotiations between representatives from Poland's Ministry of Defense, the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), Raytheon, and officials from the US government.
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The Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) radar, manufactured by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, is part of the GhostEye radar family. (Picture source: Raytheon)

This achievement is noteworthy given the customary reluctance of the United States to share its latest and most sophisticated technologies, even with its closest allies.

The discussions primarily focused on the PAC-3 MSE, the latest iteration of the MIM-104 Patriot air defense system, incorporating the advanced Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) radar developed by Raytheon. This radar is recognized for its capability to simultaneously detect a range of threats, including those overlooked by older sensors. Notable features include the ability to observe targets from extended distances and any direction, along with tracking exceptionally fast-moving objects within the observed space to counter potential attacks.

Poland's ongoing efforts to gain access to American radar technologies align strategically with the decision of the Polish Armed Forces to integrate their "Wisła" medium-range air defense missile with Patriot systems. PIT RADWAR, based in Warsaw, a manufacturer and exporter of radar equipment and weapon systems, has played a role in facilitating access to advanced American technologies through offsets, compensating for the order associated with the second phase of the "Wisła" medium-range air shield construction program.

As reported by Army Recognition on June 29, 2023, the US approved a massive Patriot Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Poland, valued at over PLN 60 billion (approximately $15 billion), including a batch of 48 launchers from Raytheon, the latest "open" IBCS command systems designed by Northrop Grumman, 644 PAC-3 MSE missiles manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and 12 LTAMDS radars.

An additional development is the opportunity for PGZ companies to contribute to the construction of the first GhostEye family radar, designed for the integrated anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense of the US Army. This positions Poland as the first US ally to domestically produce components for the LTAMDS radar, incorporating modern microwave technologies, specifically gallium nitride (GaN), known for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of radar stations.

While the value of the offset liabilities remains undisclosed due to the sensitive nature of the contractual arrangements with the American government, it is important to note that successful industrial cooperation during the initial phase of the "Wisła" program has positioned several Polish defense sector companies as global suppliers of the Patriot system. This collaboration has also equipped these entities with the requisite competencies for the maintenance and servicing of the system, further solidifying Poland's position in the global defense industry.

Raytheon's role as a partner for the defense industry is emphasized by PGZ, emphasizing the continuation and deepening of cooperation in the second phase of the "Wisła" program. Offset obligations encompass various aspects, including the manufacturing and servicing of energy storage modules (ESA) by Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne and the production of a unique Circuit Card Assembly for ESA by the Gdynia Maritime Technology Center.

The Identification Facility (IFF) system, in a completely modified version adapted to the new LTAMDS radar, will be provided by the Warsaw-based PIT RADWAR. Simultaneously, Military Communications Plant No. 1 from Zegrze near Warsaw will play a pivotal role in servicing the LTAMDS cooling system, a critical component without which the powerful radar station cannot operate effectively.