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A patriot missile Raytheon MIN-104 is seen during the Battle Griffin 2005 excersise in Bodo, Norway. Photo: Andreas Freude/Bundeswehr via Getty Images

In a major show of force to Russia, Poland has signed the biggest weapons deal in its history with the U.S., reports Reuters. The deal, signed Wednesday, ratifies the purchase of a Raytheon air and missile defense system for $4.75 billion.

Why it matters: The purchase comes on the heels of the U.S. and two dozen other countries, including Poland, taking coordinated action on Monday by expelling Russian diplomats over Russia's alleged nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the U.K..

The details: The Patriot system will reportedly be out for delivery to Poland by 2022. It will give Poland the ability to locate, identify and track incoming targets. Poland is now the 15th nation with the Patriot system.

  • The Polish Minister of Defense announced, and Raytheon confirmed to Axios, that the U.S.-based company will deliver two Polish-configured batteries of the medium air and missile defense system in an IBCS-enabled Patriot Configuration 3+. This consists of four AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, 16 M903 launching stations and PAC-3 MSE missiles.

What they're saying: Wes Kremer, President of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems said, "[t]his is the most capable integrated air and missile defense system in the world, will give them an integrated operating capability with other NATO countries and provide enhanced security for not only Poland but for the NATO alliance."

  • General Leszek Surawski, the Polish military’s chief of staff, told reporters after the signing per Reuters, “[w]e are getting to the front row of countries which will be able not only to cooperate and jointly carry out tasks with the United States and NATO, but will be also perceived on (NATO’s) eastern flank as...stronger than others.”

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Education: More schools are reopening in the U.S.
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines.
Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines

Several countries in the Americas have received their first vaccine shipments over the past few weeks — not from the regional superpower or from Western pharmaceutical giants, but from China, Russia, and in some cases India.

Why it matters: North and South America have been battered by the pandemic and recorded several of the world’s highest death tolls. Few countries other than the U.S. have the capacity to manufacture vaccines at scale, and most lack the resources to buy their way to the front of the line for imports. That’s led to a scramble for whatever supply is available.

More schools are reopening in the U.S.

Students settle into a classroom in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

More than 72% of K-12 students are now attending schools that offer in-person or hybrid models of learning.

The big picture: The U.S. is seeing an almost-universal return of schools that were in-person as of November, as well as a gradual return in parts of the country that had been virtual for almost a year.