PARIS — European missile-maker MBDA and Polish defense company PGZ will jointly develop a surface-to-air missile to add a medium-range capacity to Poland’s air defenses, according to a statement Wednesday.

The companies signed a letter of intent to work on a medium-range, low-cost interceptor based on the U.K.’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile, or CAMM, the MBDA statement said. The development process will be a multiyear program, a company spokesman told Defense News.

The agreement comes as the U.K. and Poland seek to deepen defense ties, with British Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge visiting Poland’s largest defense trade show this week. In April, the countries announced a £1.9 billion (U.S. $2.4 billion) contract to supply Poland with launchers and CAMM short-range missiles — the largest defense export contract between the two nations.

MBDA said the planned CAMM-MR missile stems from a contract with the Polish Defence Ministry. The U.K. and Poland had said in October they were investigating possible cooperation in the development of a surface-launched long-range missile.

“This joint working on a new missile is a historic step for our companies and for the development of European solutions for the defense of Europe,” MBDA CEO Eric Béranger said in the statement.

Poland is spending heavily to modernize its air defense capabilities. On Tuesday, the government signed agreements for 48 Patriot M903 launchers, 12 Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensors radars, and hundreds of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapons. The country also signed a contract for more than a thousand CAMM-ER missiles with a range exceeding 40 kilometers (25 miles) as well as 138 launchers for its Narew short-range air defense system.

MBDA and PGZ have an industrial agreement to work together on the CAMM-MR, with no value associated with the deal at this point, according to MBDA. The partners will build on the capabilities set up in Poland for the Narew program, with local manufacturing of the missiles.

The ambition is for the new missile to serve both the Polish and British militaries as a common munition with a dual source of production, PGZ leader Sebastian Chwałek said in the statement.

MBDA still has several options for the missile’s design after initial studies based on Poland’s requirements helped narrow down the choices. The CAMM-MR missile will be designed both for use on land as well as on the Miecznik frigates that Poland is building based on the Arrowhead 140 design from U.K. defense company Babcock.

Rudy Ruitenberg is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. He started his career at Bloomberg News and has experience reporting on technology, commodity markets and politics.

More In MilTech