The UK and Poland have signed a major £1.9bn export agreement on 28 April 2023 to roll out a British air defence system across the European nation. The deal is one of the largest bilateral European air defence deals of its kind in Nato.
It will see the UK equip 22 Polish air defence batteries with UK Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMMs) and launchers, under a programme called PILICA+.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated: “We have played a crucial role in boosting Euro-Atlantic defences since Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, and this landmark agreement between the UK and Poland is another example of how, alongside our allies, we are committed to protecting our security for generations to come.”
MBDA’s British-designed CAMM is the latest generation air defence system in service with both the British Army and Royal Navy. It is already deployed to Poland with the British Army to protect its airspace following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The system can engage advanced air and missile targets up to 25km away and is capable of hitting a tennis ball-sized object travelling beyond the speed of sound.
The sophisticated missiles can be deployed to protect high value, mobile assets such as deployed military forces or critical national infrastructure.
Europe’s critical infrastructure
The deal follows concerns expressed acorss the European continent on safeguarding their critical infrastructure. This has been a key tactic employed by Russian forces in Ukraine, and since the sabotaged Nordstream oil pipeline in September 2022, the concern has grown to the extent that action has been taken.
An EU-Nato task force on the Resilience of Critical Infrastructure has convened for the first time on 16 March this year. In its footsteps, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova established a joint response agreement, whereby the three nations will collectively safeguard their critical infrastructure.
Air defence systems like the British CAMMs will go a long way to assuring the safeguarding of critical infrastructure. The latest deal follows previous support from the UK, with hundreds of British troops deployed to Poland at any one time. This includes the recent deployments of Challenger 2 tanks and Sky Sabre air defence systems to Poland.