UK extends deployment of Sky Sabre air defence system in Poland to end of year

The UK has announced that it is extending the deployment of its Sky Sabre air defence system in Poland until the end of this year, along with a continent of 100 British troops.

Sky Sabre, which is the UK’s most advanced system of its kind, was first deployed to Poland in April 2022, shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Its deployment was due to finish at the end of this month, but it will now instead remain until at least December.

The decision was confirmed by British defence secretary Grant Shapps on a visit to Poland today, where he met with Polish counterpart Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and observed ongoing NATO exercises.

The UK will always step up to defend our NATO allies when needed.

That’s why today we’re extending the deployment of 100 British Soldiers and our Sky Sabre air defence system to keep Poland safe from growing threats and aggressive forces.

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) March 13, 2024

“The UK will always step up to defend our NATO allies when needed,” declared Shapps, adding that Sky Sabre would “keep Poland safe from growing threats and aggressive forces”.

“You are much closer to the front line than we are, and I believe that this system can be of much greater help to you than to us at the moment,” he added, quoted by broadcaster TVN.

Kosiniak-Kamysz thanked the UK for its “extraordinary support of Poland” in ensuring “the security of NATO’s eastern flank”.

Kolejna konkretna rozmowa z sekretarzem obrony🇬🇧 @grantshapps. Do końca roku w Polsce pozostaje brytyjski system przeciwrakietowy Sky Sabre, by wzmacniać wschodnią flankę NATO. Dalej działamy razem na rzecz bezpieczeństwa.

— Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz (@KosiniakKamysz) March 13, 2024

Sky Sabre launches missiles at speeds of 2,300 miles per hour that can target objects as small as a tennis ball. It can be used against planes, drones and rockets. As well as the UK temporarily positioning its own launchers in Poland, it also last year agreed to sell air defence systems to Poland.

During today’s meeting, Kosiniak-Kamysz and Shapps met with Polish and British troops participating in NATO’s Dragon24 exercises, which are currently taking place in Poland, and discussed further aid to Ukraine.

“We have a very clear message for Putin: NATO…does not invade non-NATO countries; we are an alliance focused on defence,” said Shapps today, but added that it is “absolutely necessary that we stop Putin, that Putin does not move further to the West”.

Poland has agreed a £4bn (20bn zloty) air defence deal with the UK – the largest ever commercial agreement between the two countries.

It will see Poland purchase over 1,000 CAMM-ER missiles and more than 100 launchers for its Narew system

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 8, 2023

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Main image credit: Ministry of National Defence/X

Agata Pyka is an assistant editor at Notes from Poland. She is a journalist and a political communication student at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in Polish and European politics as well as investigative journalism and has previously written for Euractiv and The European Correspondent.

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