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Poland Signs $414 Million Deal For HIMARS, Still Wants To Host Permanent US Base

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Poland Signs $414 Million Deal For HIMARS, Still Wants To Host Permanent US Base

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On February 13th, Poland announced that it had bought M142 HIMARS rocket artillery and ballistic missile systems for the “very good price” of $414 million.

The Polish Ministry of Defense also said that the initial offered price was $655 million.

Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak also said that the system would increase the Polish army’s combat abilities.

The purchase will help strengthen “the defense potential of Poland and the Polish army but will also increase security in our part of Europe, on the eastern flank of the Atlantic Alliance,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said. The first stage of the acquisition of “20 HIMARS systems” will go ahead in 2023, he said.

The inking took place during the Warsaw Summit, co-organized by Poland and US and aimed against Iran.

During it, US Vice President Mike Pence also gave remarks.

“We are pleased to partner with you in Poland’s national defence,” US Vice President Mike Pence said. It means that “Poland is taking its place among the most capable and formidable nations in the world,” he said, underscoring strong US ties with its NATO ally.

Pence confirmed later on February 13th that “our two countries are discussing the parameters for an increased United States military presence in Poland” without going into detail. He told Duda that he would be “carrying back your strong convictions regarding that to President Trump.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also attending the Warsaw Summit. He visited a NATO battalion in northern Poland.

He told reporters that Washington would “make sure” to have the “right” number and “mix” of troops in Poland in future without indicating when a decision could come.

Overall, attendance of EU representatives at the summit was limited. The EU’s foreign policy director Federica Mogherini refused to attend. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be leaving it early, while France will be sending a civil servant, and Germany its junior foreign minister.

In addition to the summit, the US delegation met with the Polish President, Defense Minister and others, discussing cooperation between the countries.

Polish Defense Minister Blaszczak also said that Poland spends 2% of its GDP for defense, as per NATO requirements and that the Polish military needs modern hardware and equipment, praising the HIMARS purchase as well as the Patriot system and Black Hawk deals.

The Black Hawk and Patriot system purchases refer to the March 2018 inking of a deal between the US and Poland at a cost of $4.75 billion.

In terms of increased US military presence in Poland and the establishing of a permanent base, Blaszczak said that during a meeting of NATO Secretaries of Defense in Brussels he would speak to Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan regarding the opening of Fort Trump.

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