Poland is looking to collaborate with nations including fellow NATO states Germany and France in developing a domestic antimissile infrastructure, United Press International reported on Saturday (see GSN, Aug. 6).
"We want it to happen in cooperation with France, Germany and other [of] our allies," Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said to the Polish Press Agency. "NATO welcomes the initiatives of the countries to build up their joint defense capabilities. This is so-called smart defense."
The 28-member Western military alliance has agreed to jointly establish a ballistic missile shield that would cover all of Europe from possible missile strikes from the Middle East. At the center of the envisioned system is a U.S. plan to through 2020 field increasingly sophisticated Standard Missile 3 interceptors at bases in Poland and Romania and on warships based out of Spain. Those interceptors are to be supported by the national antimissile capabilities of other NATO members, which have agreed to coordinate and enhance their respective systems.
The Polish defense chief was quoted by RIA Novosti as placing the price tag for the envisioned domestic antimissile system as high as $6 billion (United Press International, Aug. 11).
While the next-generation SM-3 interceptors planned for deployment in Poland are envisioned as having the capacity to defeat intermediate-range missiles and even some ICBMs (see GSN, July 26), Warsaw wants an independent capacity to bring down much shorter-range missiles launched from the "near abroad," according to a Monday analysis in the Warsaw Business Journal.
Russia has threatened to field short-range Iskander ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave that borders Poland, noted analysts Michal Baranowski and Jacob Foreman, both with the German Marshall Fund.
Moscow has warned it will deploy its Iskanders if an accommodation is not reached with Washington and NATO on their missile defense plans, which the Kremlin sees as a serious threat to nuclear stability on the continent (see GSN July 30; Baranowski/Foreman, Warsaw Business Journal, Aug. 13).