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On 21 November 2022, Poland’s Vice President and Defense Minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, announced on twitter that he welcomed the proposed deployment of German PATRIOT air defence systems in Poland. He added that in further discussions that day he would propose stationing the PATRIOT systems near the Polish-Ukrainian border. Later the same day, the German Ministry of Defence announced that the two countries’ respective Defence Ministers had agreed to Germany deploying both Eurofighter and PATRIOT systems to Poland.

The deployment has been proposed against the background of the Przewodów Incident, in which a missile impacted the village of Przewodów in Poland on 15 November, killing two Polish civilians in the process. At present, the missile is believed to have been a stray Ukrainian surface-to-air missile (SAM) which missed its intended target and continued westward into Poland during an intercept attempt against a Russian cruise missile. A more detailed description of the incident is available here.

Following the incident, Germany offered to assist with securing Poland’s airspace. Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht stated in an interview with the Rheinische Post and the Bonner General Anzeiger that Germany had already proposed both the deployment of Eurofighters and PATRIOT air defence systems. Germany previously deployed PATRIOT systems to Slovakia in March as part of a NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) formation, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The PATRIOT (Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target) air defence system is a semi-mobile long-range air defence system manufactured by US companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. It is intended to counter manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as tactical ballistic and cruise missiles. PATRIOT is typically used to protect point targets or specific areas. According to the Bundeswehr, the PATRIOT PAC-3 systems used by the German Air Force have a range of approximately 68 km.

A PATRIOT Battery (also known as a Fire Unit) consists of five principal components: an engagement control station (ECS), a radar station (RS) for detection and fire control, eight launching stations (LSs), an antenna mast group (AMG), and of course the missiles themselves. Depending on the missile used, a launching station is armed with between four and sixteen missiles. Further information on the PATRIOT family of systems is available here.