LONDON and WARSAW, Poland — Britain and Poland are investigating possible cooperation in the development of a surface-launched, long-range missile in the latest step towards strengthening their ties in the defense sector.
The two nations announced their intention to take a look at forming a partnership at the end of a visit Oct. 5 to Poland by British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for talks with his Polish counterpart, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated plans by Poland to develop the nation’s short-range air defense capacities. In April 2022, Błaszczak signed a contract to procure a short-range air defense system, dubbed Narew, using MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile, or CAMM, for the country’s military this year.
Under the envisioned partnership with the U.K,, the CAMM “family of missiles” will find its way into several new applications in the Polish armed forces, according to a British Ministry of Defence statement. The two ministers agreed to form a new working group examining relevant use cases for land and maritime environments.
During an Oct. 4 signing ceremony, Błaszczak announced the first of the ordered systems, which the ministry calls “small” Narew, had been delivered to the Polish Armed Forces. A second system is to be supplied in the first half of 2023, the Ministry of National Defence said in a statement.
“The ‘small’ Narew system comprises Polish radars, Polish trucks, and British launchers and missiles. We could say it is based on the Sky Sabre anti-aircraft and anti-missile system which was also deployed to our country owing to the decision of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace,” Błaszczak said.
CAMM is already in service with British forces, and the land version, known as Sky Sabre, is among the weapons the British Army have deployed in Poland.
The Polish government’s interest lays in the development of a missile that could be used by the Wisla mid-range air defense system and the three Miecznik frigates slated to be built locally using Britain’s Babcock Arrowhead-140 design.
Collaboration on the procurement and operation of a Arrowhead variant for the Polish Navy was among several areas of cooperation proposed by the British and Polish ministers.
As part of their bilateral plans, Wallace and Blaszczak touted a memorandum of understanding on air defense capabilities, enabling both countries two sides to team on the development and manufacture of current and future complex weapons.
The two sides also signed a framework agreement for cooperation on the Polish Pilica+ very short range air defense system.
To that end, the Polish minister signed a contract for the delivery of 21 upgraded PSR-A Pilica+ anti-aircraft missile systems with a consortium led by the country’s state-run defense giant PGZ. The weapon’s modernized version will be equipped with CAMMs.
Chris Allam, the managing director of MBDA UK, said the new British-Polish pacts pave the way for further steps in weapon development.
“Today’s agreements launch the next step in Polish-UK missile cooperation and underpins the PGZ-MBDA technology transfer proposal on Narew, while also supporting Pilica+, Miecznik, a tank destroyer, and other vital projects,” he said.
Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.