The Polish Defence Ministry is accelerating its tender for a missile defence system in wake of escalating tensions between the neighbouring Ukraine and Russia.

Poland Deputy Defence Minister Czeslaw Mroczek was quoted by Reuters as saying that the country wants to choose an offer by the end of 2014.

"That is the acceleration by several months, compared to our original plans that we are talking about" Mroczek said.

"To a certain extent, the decision on accelerating this process is the result of a review commissioned by the prime minister and the defence minister because of the situation in Ukraine."

Poland had originally planned to announce the supplier of its missile defence system in 2015.

Welcoming Poland’s decision, US Congressman Stephen Lynch said Nato needs to do more to upgrade its defences, not just missile defences, in wake of the situation in Crimea.

"But certainly I can fully support the decision by Poland to expedite that whole process and I think it’s entirely appropriate that we should support that effort," Lynch said.

"Poland had originally planned to announce the supplier of its missile defence system in 2015."

The bidders include a Thales-led consortium comprising MBDA and the Polish state defence group, the Israeli Government, Raytheon and the MEADS consortium led by Lockheed Martin.

While the MEADS consortium noted that the tender has a potential value of $5bn, military experts estimate that the complete missile defence system will cost up to $13.1bn, including maintenance costs.

The missile defence shield is planned to be completed in stages, with the first involving eight sets of mid-range interceptor rockets.

An unnamed Defence Ministry spokesman said the country has already passed legislation to secure funding for the system.

The system is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Defence Technology