In a surprise twist for a program that has had more than its share of twists and turns, the Obama Administration last week decided to make the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) available to Poland — even though the U.S. Army has eliminated funding for the program. MEADS is one of four options on a short list of candidates the Warsaw government has assembled for equipping a national shield against hostile aircraft and tactical ballistic missiles. The traditional U.S. champion in such competitions is Raytheon’s Patriot system, but Turkey’s decision to favor a Chinese air defense system last year and the crisis in Ukraine have apparently led Washington to become more expansive about what the Poles should be offered. MEADS was originally conceived to replace Patriot, and offers significant advantages such as 360-degree radar coverage and easy transportability. Poland could conceivably replace the U.S. as the third partner on MEADS — Germany and Italy are already on board — affording major opportunities for Polish industry. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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