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Britain has agreed a £4bn air defence deal with Poland, the largest-ever export contract between the two countries, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The UK will equip Polish forces with a ground-based air defence system capable of countering threats such as cruise missiles and fighter jets at ranges of more than 40km. The system, known as the Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles — Extended Range or CAMM-ER, is manufactured by European missile maker MBDA.

Under a subcontract agreed between the company’s UK division and Poland’s defence maker PGZ, MBDA will export more than 1,000 CAMM-ERs as well as 100 launchers. The missiles will be developed jointly by the UK and Italy.

The agreement is MBDA’s largest-ever export contract and follows on from a £1.9bn deal for shorter-range missiles agreed in April as part of Poland’s future air defence programme, Narew.

“This is another crucial step forward for our historic defence ties with Poland, supplying next generation air-defence capabilities to act as a clear deterrent to our adversaries,” said UK defence secretary Grant Shapps.

Poland’s outgoing nationalist government has been increasing military purchases since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including from the US and South Korea.

The agreement comes after years of close collaboration between the two nations. Hundreds of British troops are deployed to the country at any one time. The UK recently sent Challenger 2 tanks and Sky Sabre air defence systems to Poland.

The air defence system will also use the US Integrated Battle Command System and Polish radars. The partnership will entail British engineers from Bolton, Bristol and Stevenage working with their Polish counterparts, sharing key technologies and supporting jobs and critical skills in both countries for more than 15 years, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

The “UK stands with Poland to defend Nato’s eastern flank and support Ukraine against Russian aggression”, the MoD added in a statement.

Chris Allam, managing director of MBDA UK, said the “transfer of technology in Narew will be transformative for Poland’s sovereign complex weapons capabilities”.

MBDA is owned by BAE Systems and Airbus, both with a 37.5 per cent stake, with Italy’s Leonardo holding the balance.

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