- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The U.S. State Department announced a $500 million arms deal with Poland — including advanced cruise missiles and fighter jet upgrades — as a strategy to stave off Russia should tensions escalate.

The plan is that Poland will buy 40 AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs) from Lockheed Martin. The missiles, which have a 250-mile range, could be used by Polish Air Force authorities to target Russia without having to leave Poland’s own air space, the Daily Mail reported.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said of the sales: “The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally. Poland continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Central Europe. The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future threats of enemy air and ground weapon systems.”

Specifically, the agency said Poland will use the weapons as a “deterrent” only, the Daily Mail reported.

Poland will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland’s air-to-ground strike capabilities and increase its contribution to future NATO operations,” the statement continued, the Daily Mail reported. “The proposed sale of the weapons, equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

The sale still requires the approval of Congress. But the Daily Mail reported that approval will likely be granted within the next couple months. Poland has already spent $500 million to upgrade its jet fleet with F-16s in recent years.

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