MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – The United States plans to sell 40 air-launched AGM 158-missiles to Poland as the Eastern European country further strengthens its defense amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the Telegraph reports citing the US State Department.
The joint air-to-surface missiles can carry 1,000-pound warheads and have a far longer maximum range than the ones Poland currently is equipped with. They have a maximum range of 400 kilometers (250 miles). That is “further than the distance from Poland to Russia’s western border,” the newspaper observed.
The weapons, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, will act as a “deterrent to regional threats”, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a press-release. “The … sale will contribute to the foreign policy and the national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally,” DSCA, an agency under the US Department of Defense, added.
Poland, which currently has 48 F-16 jets, also requested the sale of F-16 operational flight plan upgrades, according to DSCA. Additionally, Warsaw is set to receive spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training, technical and logistics support services from the US.
The US State Department approved the $500 deal on Monday saying that “Poland continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Central Europe.”
Poland decided to accelerate the process of upgrading its missile defense system in March as the situation in Ukraine deteriorated, Reuters reported. Medium-range missiles make up the first phase of the countries upgraded air defense system.