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September 15, 2014

Poland considers pulling out of Visegrad defence radar project

Poland is reportedly ready to quit a joint defence radar development project that it is working on with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Poland is reportedly ready to quit a joint defence radar development project that it is working on with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Undertaken by the Visegrad Group, the project was created to develop a new mobile air defence radar system.

However, Poland has this week decided to leave, putting the project in jeopardy, the Financial Times reported, citing two sources with the knowledge of the matter.

"Poland’s decision is likely to increase development costs for the remaining partners and delay the project."

Poland is the major contributor to the group and reportedly believes that other members have little to offer, as it looks to upgrade its military and defence industry.

The Czech Republic would be hit the hardest, with its Soviet-era radar scheduled to become obsolete in 2017.

An unnamed Czech defence official told the Financial Times: "We now have two options. To proceed with Hungary and Slovakia, or to open the project to an external tender."

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The country may also consider buying the system from private manufacturers such as Saab and Thales.

Poland’s decision is likely to increase development costs for the remaining partners and delay the project.

The withdrawal could also damage plans to develop a pan-Visegrad defence industry, as agreed in June.

A defence industry executive said: "Poland pulling out means the end of this sooner rather than later, for sure.

"As long as Poland was on board, there was a chance that the system could be ready in time. But now the upfront R&D costs will spiral dramatically."

However, a Polish defence ministry spokesman denied that the country had withdrawn from the project, saying that the discussions were a ‘work in progress’.

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