By Staff Sgt. Andrew Mallett
Brig. Gen. Gregory Brady, the commander of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, visited Poland on Aug. 11-12 at the request of Polish Col. Kazimierz Dynski, commander of the 3rd Surface to Air Defense Brigade, in order to facilitate the planning and execution of future exercises in the European theater.
The two countries will be conducting the Astral Knight 20 exercise in September. Astral Knight 20 is the second iteration of a U.S. Air Force led exercise intended to produce a valid theater-wide integrated air and missile defense architecture. The U.S. and Poland are focusing on reinforcing NATO deterrence measures and reassuring NATO Alliances and Partners of a combined tactical defense of Europe.
The U.S. and Poland will also be simultaneously participating in the Tobruq Legacy 20 exercise in Lithuania along with 11 other NATO Allies. Tobruq Legacy 20 is a multinational air defense exercise. Lithuania will both host and direct the exercise.
During the exercise U.S., allies and partners will safely deploy and redeploy all equipment and personnel to host nation country and establish a combined U.S. and European Surface based Air Defense. The exercise will enhance the combined U.S. and European task force’s ability to control defensive fires in central and Eastern Europe and refine the NATO kill chain. It will also enable the development of standard operating procedures. The purpose of this exercise is to enhance interoperability with NATO forces and increase readiness through the integration of land component air missile defense capabilities.
“A trained and ready alliance deters real threats.” Brady said. “Participation in Astral Knight 20 and Tobruq Legacy 20 enhances our professional relationships and interoperability with ally and partner militaries. It also allows us the opportunity to demonstrate air and missile defense mission command, while simultaneously executing these exercises in Poland and Lithuania. We are proud of our strong relationship with our Polish counterparts in the 3rd Surface to Air Defense Brigade who will also be receiving the Patriot system in the near future. We look forward to enhancing our air and missile defense capability, increasing security along NATO’s eastern flank, and preserving peace.”
The Polish Army will be receiving Patriot missile systems in the next two to five years, according to an article in Defense News. The purchase of American made air defense systems has been part of an initiative to deter threats from foreign adversaries. In 2018, President Duda announced a $4.75 billion deal to purchase and co-produce a mix of air and missile.
This visit has been part of an ongoing relationship to pursue enhancement of Poland’s overall air defense capabilities. Polish Soldiers assigned to the 37th Air Defense Squadron, 3rd Surface to Air Defense Brigade visited the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in order to gain more understanding of the Patriot mid-range air and missile defense system and enhance their own training program on August 8-10, 2020 at the Baumholder Training Area, Germany.
“We have a long and proud history of friendship and partnership with the Polish air defense forces”, Lt. Col. Justin Logan, Commander of the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, said. “We wanted to take advantage of current training to continue to build and strengthen our partnership.”
Polish and American integration into the battalion has been a valuable tool in continued learning for everyone involved, Logan explained. Training, logistics, and maintenance operations improve drastically when multinational soldiers can collaborate.
“We are excited to reach the highest level of interoperability as we can with the U.S.” Polish Army Capt. Daniel Pyza, assigned to the 37th Air Defense Squadron, said. “We want to obtain wisdom and experience as much as we can while we are here. We have always had great cooperation, and this is a continuation of that relationship.”