The U.S. State Department approved a possible $10.5 billion (£7.95 billion) sale of Raytheon Co's (>> Raytheon) Patriot missile defence system to Poland, the Pentagon said on Friday.
NATO member Poland has sped up efforts to overhaul its military following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014 and in response to Moscow's renewed military and political assertiveness in the region.
Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said in March that Poland expected to sign a deal with Raytheon to buy the Patriot missile defence system by the end of the year.
Patriot missile defence interceptors are designed to detect, track and engage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles and short-range or tactical ballistic missiles.
The proposed sale, includes 208 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 16 M903 launching stations, four AN/MPQ-65 radars, four control stations, spares, software and associated equipment.
In addition, Poland is authorized to buy U.S. government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services as well as range and test programs for a total estimated potential programme cost of up to $10.5 billion.
The Pentagon said the sale will take place in two phases.
The contract still requires approval from the U.S. Congress, because it involves a purchase of advanced military technology for which special permission must be obtained.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which implements foreign arms sales, said it had delivered notification to Congress on Tuesday.
U.S. lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, but that rarely happens.
In addition to Raytheon, the prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Corp (>> Lockheed Martin Corporation) and Northrop Grumman (>> Northrop Grumman Corporation).
(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
By Mike Stone