13:32 GMT +317 August 2019
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    Polish Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft fly over Poland's national flag during a military parade.

    In Latest Military Modernization, Poland Wants New Surveillance Aircraft

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    In addition to hosting a new US missile defense system, Poland also plans to acquire a new fleet of spy planes.

    As part of recent efforts to revamp its military, the Polish Ministry of Defense has begun negotiating the acquisition of three surveillance aircraft and three maritime patrol planes, all to be delivered between 2023 and 2030.

    According to local news site Dziennikzbrojny.pl, the patrol aircraft will used to enhance Warsaw’s anti-submarine and anti-vessel capabilities.

    The procurement is part of an attempt to modernize the Polish Navy, with the government prepared to spend roughly $233 million per year through 2030 to purchase new vessels and armament.

    The country’s Defense Ministry has not stated how much the new aircraft will cost.

    While the navy has long been seen as Poland’s most underfunded branch, its modernization is part of a broader push to strengthen the military at large.

    "The Polish army will be bigger; we envision a substantial increase in the size of the army, by at least 50 percent, in the coming years, including the creation of three brigades for the territorial defense of the country on the eastern flank," Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said last month, according to Poland’s Rzeczpospolita.

    The minister added that the reason for this increase is the "threat from Russia."

    This also explains the installation of the new US Aegis Ashore missile defense system in the village of Redzikovo.

    "The missile defense system will intercept potential missiles which would fly further to Western Europe," President Andrzej Duda told reporters on Friday.

    "Today we are entering the new phase of strengthening of security of the free world and Poland."

    Speaking to Sputnik Poland, Tomasz Jankowski of the European Center for Geopolitical Analysis stressed that Poland’s military upgrades come at the expense of Polish taxpayers.

    "Everything will be arranged in such a way that we [Poles] will have to dip into our pockets," he said. "And that’s not the worst thing about it. The worst thing…is that all these purchases and modernization plans are devised for Poland to buy mostly obsolete US weaponry, which the US army no longer needs and is looking to get rid of."

    The Russian government has also repeatedly expressed its concern over military buildups along its border. On Friday, President Vladimir Putin warned that new missile defense systems in Poland and Romania threaten to start "a new arms race."

    "This [US missile shield in Europe] is not a defense system, but a part of US strategic nuclear potential in east Europe," he said.

    "This is a clear violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, because missile launchers, which will be deployed after the commissioning of the radar station in Romania, missile launchers that will be deployed in Poland, can easily be used for mid- and short-range missiles."

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    Tags:
    surveillance aircraft, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis Ashore BMD complex, Polish Navy, Polish Armed Forces, Polish Defense Ministry, Tomasz Jankowski, Vladimir Putin, Andrzej Duda, Antoni Macierewicz, United States, Russia, Poland
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