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Poland eyes on Lockheed Martin's Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile for its F-16 fighter jets

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World Aviation Defense and Security News - Poland
 
 
Poland eyes on Lockheed Martin's Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile for its F-16 fighter jets
 
Poland wants to buy cruise missiles from the U.S. Air Force “without delay” if the price comes down, Bloomberg reported today. Under a streamlined procedure for NATO allies, congressional committees this month approved a proposed package of as many as 40 of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and upgrades to Poland’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets to carry them, together valued by the Pentagon at as much as $500 million.
     
Poland wants to buy cruise missiles from the U.S. Air Force “without delay” if the price comes down, Bloomberg reported today. Under a streamlined procedure for NATO allies, congressional committees this month approved a proposed package of as many as 40 of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and upgrades to Poland’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets to carry them, together valued by the Pentagon at as much as $500 million. Lockheed Martin's AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
     
While the proposed price “is at present too high,” formal approval “has given us the opportunity to start detailed negotiations,” Rafal Perl, a spokesman for the Polish embassy, said an in e-mail.

We hope that the negotiations will be productive and that both sides will very soon reach an agreement,” he said.

The approval culminated two years of discussions with the White House, Pentagon and Congress for Ryszard Schnepf, Poland’s Ambassador to the U.S., he said yesterday at a Bloomberg Government lunch.

“I had many conversations” with U.S. officials “before it happened,” Schnepf said of the effort, which predated Ukraine’s crisis with Russia.

Poland has been a leader in the 28-member European Union in advocating tough economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse its annexation of Crimea and its intervention in eastern Ukraine.

The crisis prompted the U.S. to reassure European allies with Army unit rotations, aircraft exercises and a proposal to Congress by President Barack Obama for $1 billion to bolster U.S. operations in the region.

Schnepf said he had “many meetings before the crisis, during the crisis, every time I visited at the Pentagon or other instrumental institutions” where “the subject of the Jassm missiles always was raised,” Schnepf said.

Schnepf said he had “no knowledge of” whether the approval process was accelerated by the Ukraine crisis.

The Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile, which the U.S. has sold to Australia and Finland, has a low radar cross-section that makes it difficult to detect and is designed to penetrate as far as 200 miles (322 kilometers) into an adversary’s territory.

Flying a pre-planned route from launch to target using Global Positioning Satellites and an internal navigation system, the missile is designed to strike with a 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) warhead.

A contract would come through the U.S. Air Force under a foreign military sale,” Melissa Hilliard, a spokeswoman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said in an e-mail. “We are currently supporting the U.S. government in their discussions with Poland.