"To please the overlord": what is behind the plans of Poland to buy an unverified US air and missile defense control system
American arms maker Northrop Grumman received almost $ 350 million in contact for the supply of Poland's newest integrated combat control system for air defense and anti-ballistic missile defense IBCS. As Northrop Grumman experts emphasize, their development allows for the effective management of a layered air defense and missile defense system. However, IBCS has not yet been adopted by the United States itself. From the point of view of experts, the decision to purchase an unverified system has a purely political basis. The same dictated the intention of Warsaw to increase purchases of American weapons and to place on its territory a permanent US military base, analysts say.
The American defense giant Northrop Grumman received a contract for the production of air defense and missile defense control systems for Poland. This is reported on the official website of the Pentagon.
"Northrop Grumman (Huntsville, Alabama) received a contract with a fixed price of $ 349,377,402 for the supply of military products abroad, involving the transfer to Poland of two full battery sets of IBCS hardware and software (integrated air defense and anti-missile defense), ”said the military.
Brain for air defense
According to the data of the American Ministry of Defense, the contract should be executed on June 30, 2026. In March 2018, Northrop Grumman announced the signing of a preliminary document on the consent of Warsaw to purchase an air defense control system from the Americans. After that, the contract negotiation procedure in the US government began.
- Northrop Grumman's IBCS Work Pattern
- © Northrop Grumman
“Poland will be the first foreign partner country to acquire IBCS. The use of IBCS will allow Poland to improve the capabilities of its integrated air and missile defense system in accordance with the radical modernization carried out in this area by the US Army, as well as to ensure the full integration of its air defense forces in allied operations, ”said representatives of the manufacturer.
According to the information published by the manufacturer, IBCS operates on the basis of a network-centric corporate approach, as opposed to previously used vertically integrated control systems.
“By integrating detection and interception systems, IBCS expands surveillance coverage and extends protection. The truly open IBCS system architecture allows us to incorporate existing and advanced detection and armament systems into it, ”says the product description on the Northrop Grumman website.
As Alexey Leonkov, an expert at Arsenal of the Fatherland, explained in an interview with RT, IBCS should create a layered air defense system, the key element of which is the Patriot air defense missile system with a radius of capture of an aerodynamic target up to 90 km, and other systems of a smaller radius of action, including rocket-gun systems, should work with him in conjunction.
However, according to the expert, in order for IBCS to operate effectively, at least one more component is needed - airplanes with the AWACS radio detection system. According to the expert, it was the use of such a scheme that allowed the Turkish Air Force to bring down the Russian Su-24 in 2015 in the sky over Syria.
“Poland hopes that if it buys the control system, sooner or later it will get all the components,” Leonkov said.
The Polish government signed an agreement on the supply of US air defense and missile defense systems to the Patriot with representatives of the United States last March. According to Polish Defense Minister Marius Blashchak, the contract amount was $ 4.75 billion. 16 launchers, 208 missiles and four radar stations (RLS) will be delivered in two batches in 2022 and 2024. They will be the basis of the national air defense and missile defense system in the framework of the Wisła program.
Also in March last year, separate contracts were signed with manufacturers of components for the Patriot: Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. In September 2018, Raytheon received a $ 1.5 billion contract from the Pentagon to manufacture phased antenna arrays as part of a Polish deal. About the contracts for the construction of air defense for Lockheed Martin were not reported.
However, unlike the Patriot, which was adopted by the US Army back in 1982, IBCS is a completely new system. It is worth noting that she still has not passed all the tests. In 2017, the American edition of Defense News (DN), citing representatives of the US Land Forces, informed that the arrival of the new system in the troops was postponed for an indefinite period due to problems with the software.
Later, the DN wrote that the US military would receive IBCS tentatively in 2022. In August, Northrop Grumman reported that the Ground Forces conducted a successful IBCS trial. The system linked air defense and missile defense systems located in the states of Alabama, Texas and New Mexico, combining data from Patriot long-range radars and Sentinel short-range radars.
- Places where IBCS tests were simultaneously performed on a map of the USA
- © Northrop Grumman
In October 2018, Northrop Grumman announced that it had received additional funding of $ 289 million for further improvement of IBCS.
In January of this year, the specialized American media and the British defense publication Jane's 360, citing representatives of the Pentagon, confirmed that the deadline for adopting the new system remains the same - 2022nd. At the same time, operational tests are planned for 2020, and it is by their results that the final decision will be made.
Risk in exchange for loyalty
As the Polish defense publication Defence24.com notes, one of the advantages of the IBCS system for Poland may be the ability to integrate the near and long-range air defense systems. On March 11, Northrop Grumman, the manufacturer, announced that it had successfully integrated into its system CAMM missiles, which the European MBDA consortium developed for the UK. These short-range anti-aircraft missiles (1-25 km) can be acquired by Warsaw as part of the Narew defense program.
- CAMM rocket
- © mbda-systems.com
However, from the point of view of experts, the purchase of defense complexes, the testing of which has not yet been completed, is a risky move for Warsaw.
“The fact that IBCS has not been delivered yet means that the Poles are at risk,” says Leonkov. “Apparently, they have such a strong desire to please the overlord, they are ready to do anything, if only the United States would express words of gratitude and set them as an example to other allies.”
According to the expert, the decision of Poland to get IBCS is not military, but purely political considerations.
“Poland is counting on the fact that when the Americans supply this system to them, it will demonstrate to all other NATO members how to exchange loyalty for supposedly promising weapons,” says Leonkov.
Oleg Nemensky, a senior researcher at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, agrees that the procurement of a new American system of air defense and missile defense management is not so much military as political.
“Poland is thus trying to improve its position in the White House,” says Nemensky.
"Meet the standards"
The acquisition of an expensive system of coordinating air defense and missile defense in addition to the Patriot complexes is not the only large-scale purchase planned for American weapons by Warsaw. On February 13, Poland signed a contract with the United States for the supply of 20 US HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems worth $ 414 million.
In late February, Polish Defense Minister Marius Blashchak announced that the country was negotiating with the United States to procure frequently criticized experts from 32 fifth-generation F-35 fighters. They should significantly update the air force of the republic, consisting of Soviet MiG-29 and Su-22. How much it can cost the Polish taxpayer is not reported, but in January of this year, the Japanese Defense Ministry reported that it plans to purchase 27 such machines at a price of $ 107 million per unit under a similar contract.
On March 5, the Polish edition Defence24.com, referring to the documents of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic, announced the suspension of previously announced plans to modernize Soviet aircraft. On March 13, President Andrzej Duda, meeting with the military on the occasion of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Poland’s entry into NATO, called on the country to free itself from “communist” weapons.
“We need to abandon the technology inherited from the communist era as soon as possible. We have long had to meet the standards of the armament of the North Atlantic Alliance. First of all, I mean infrastructure. This is a mandatory condition, ”Radio Poland quotes the head of state.
In late February, Poland announced the start of a large-scale modernization program for its armed forces, explaining these steps as a threat from Russia.
- Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump
- © Donald Trump / Twitter.com
In addition to acquiring American weapons, Poland intends to deploy the first permanent US base in its country. Now the American troops in the country are deployed on a rotational basis. Last year, Andrzej Duda even offered to name a new base in honor of the current American president - Fort Trump. Warsaw is even ready to partially pay for the construction, sending $ 2 billion for these purposes.
Speaking at congressional hearings on March 13, the head of the European Command of the United States Armed Forces and the Supreme Commander of NATO Combat Forces in Europe, General Curtis Scaparotti, supported this project.
- General Curtis Scaparotti
- © Alex Edelman / ZUMAPRESS.com
According to Scaparotti, he advocates a combination of a rotational approach and a permanent base that will perform the tasks of logistics and command and control.
According to the official publication of the American Army Stars and Stripes and Voice of America *, referring to the statement of Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Katherine Wilbarger, the conclusion of an agreement on the construction of the base will take from six months to a year.
The United States is also planning to deploy its own Aegis missile defense system in Poland, similar to the one already operating in Romania.
Speaking before the Federal Assembly on February 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the Mk 41 launchers used on Aegis can also be used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. March 1, the US Air Force announced the deployment in Poland of a squadron of reconnaissance and drone drone MQ-9 Reaper.
According to Alexei Leonkov, as a result of this policy, “when weapons accumulate and new bases are built,” not only the security of the entire Eastern European region, but also of Poland itself will be under threat.
“Poland is at the forefront of the NATO bloc, and in the event of a global conflict, all NATO facilities in Poland will be under attack,” the expert notes. “If medium and short-range missiles with nuclear warheads appear in Europe, the entire territory of Poland will be under the gun of Russian missile systems.”
According to the military analyst, "the leadership of Poland and its military-political bloc makes every effort to ensure that the population of Poland becomes hostage to their loyalty to the United States."
As Oleg Nemensky notes, despite the statement by Polish Foreign Minister Yatsek Chaputovich of March 14 about searching for points of contact with Russia, the military plans of the Polish government suggest the opposite. At the same time, these projects may not be effective.
“With the advent of information about new weapons systems in Russia, many experts have questioned the need for a missile defense system that the US is deploying in Europe,” the expert said.
* “Voice of America” - media, recognized by a foreign agent by decision of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation dated December 5, 2017.