As Poland continues to increase its defence spending in the face of the Ukraine War and the renewed Russian threat, the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND) has signed an agreement with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) to lease an undisclosed number of MQ-9A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).
The new leasing agreement – which has a net value of $70.6m – was announced by GA-ASI on October 31 and will see Poland become the seventh operator of the MQ-9A RPA family after the US, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. This agreement is the latest in a long line of acquisitions and deals that have been announced since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, a move which led the Polish government to heavily invest in its armed forces. The deal also comes as Poland continues to lean more on the US solutions to fulfil its domestic and international defence procurement needs.
Commenting on the recently signed deal, Linden Blue – CEO of GA-ASI – said: “GA-ASI’s support for Poland and the NATO alliance is steadfast as they confront the ongoing war in the region. We look forward to delivering our proven MQ-9A platform system to Poland to enhance the nation’s ability to conduct persistent airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and support its Defence Forces.”
Warsaw’s move to lease MQ-9As from GA-ASI comes after the nation ordered 24 Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) from Turkish drone manufacturer, Baykar Makina. Of which, the first batch of six aircraft was delivered to the Polish Air Force on October 28. This deal also comes after the Polish MND announced it had selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter to replace the Polish Land Forces’ ageing fleet of Soviet-era Mil Mi-24D/W Hind-D/E gunships under the nation’s Kruk programme on September 8.