US to send Patriot missiles for drill in Poland
A US Patriot missile battery will take part in a joint exercise this month with Poland designed to reassure NATO allies anxious over a resurgent Russia, the Pentagon said Friday.
The Patriot systems, used to take out incoming missiles, will be deployed for the drill along with 100 US soldiers and about 30 vehicles, spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.
"This planned exercise is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve which aims to reassure allies, demonstrate freedom of movement and deter regional aggression on the eastern flank of NATO," Warren told reporters.
The American forces will exercise with a Polish air defense missile brigade, he said.
Poland is expected to make a decision on new missile defenses later this year and the Patriot system -- manufactured by US-based Raytheon -- is competing against another system by the Eurosam consortium that includes MBDA France, MBDA Italy and France's Thales Group.
If Poland opts for the Patriot batteries, it would mean more US troops would be deployed on the country's territory, which would be in Warsaw's interest, US Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull said last month.
Poland has launched a major increase in military spending in the wake of Russia's intervention in Ukraine, with plans to invest in anti-aircraft defenses, an anti-missile shield, submarines, new helicopters and drones.
© 2015 AFP