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​What Capabilities Does Poland Have to Shoot Down Drones, Missiles Over Ukraine?

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Polish MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system / Photo credit: Wojsko Polskie
Polish MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system / Photo credit: Wojsko Polskie

What weapons can be used by Polish air defense to shoot down airborne threats over the territory of Ukraine

On Monday, July 8, Ukraine and Poland signed a security agreement that provides the possibility of using Polish air defense to shoot down russian missiles and long-range drones. Later, the U.S. Department of State reported that the implementation of this mechanism, involving Polish air defense to protect Ukraine, could be discussed at the NATO summit in Washington.

What Capabilities Does Poland Have to Shoot Down Drones, Missiles Over Ukraine?, Defense Express
Illustrative photo credit: NATO/OTAN

But here some questions arise. What air defense assets does Poland have? What can be used to repel russian attacks in the skies of Ukraine?

Read more: Ukraine's Expectations of NATO Anniversary Summit: U.S. Perspective

According to the Ministry of National Defense of Poland, the state currently has only two Patriot SAM systems out of eight ordered. This was an answer to the question of why Warsaw did not agree to give Ukraine its Petriot systems.

However, even two Patriot SAM systems were a significant increase in capabilities for Poland. For instance, to cover the border from russian Kh-555 cruise missiles at the end of 2022, Poland had to use the Osa-P and Poprad army air defense systems, because of lack of other alternatives.

What Capabilities Does Poland Have to Shoot Down Drones, Missiles Over Ukraine?, Defense Express
Polish S-125 Neva SC SAM system / Open source illustrative photo

It should also be noted that the Polish Armed Forces have about three Sky Sabre SAM systems from the UK as well as 17 S-125 Neva SC medium-range systems. Everything else is intended to defend its army. They directly cover the troops. Among them are 20 units of 2K12 Kub, 79 units of Poprad, 64 units of Osa-P SAM systems, as well as 12 PSR-A Pilica anti-aircraft missile and artillery system.

It should be noted that Poland will not be able to deploy all of the air defense assets to repel russian air attacks in the Ukrainian sky. It is clear Poles also need to cover their own border around Kaliningrad Oblast.

Poland also has about 20 MiG-29 and 48 F-16 fighter gets. It is unknown what part of them the Polish Armed Forces will be able to use to protect Ukraine's airspace.

As Defense Express, we assume that the involvement of Polish air defense assets to protect Ukraine's sky will depend on both bilateral agreements between Warsaw and Kyiv and some decisions during the NATO summit that may remain non-public.

What Capabilities Does Poland Have to Shoot Down Drones, Missiles Over Ukraine?, Defense Express
Polish F-16 aircraft / Open source illustrative photo

Earlier Defense Express reported that Ukraine might receive MiG-29 squadron from Poland.

Read more: ​Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Polish Air Defense Will Intercept russian Missiles