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Missile maker MBDA signs 1.9 billion pound deal with Poland

Defence and foreign ministers of UK and Italy meet in Rome

LONDON (Reuters) -The UK arm of European missile maker MBDA on Friday agreed a 1.9 billion pound ($2.37 billion) deal with Poland to provide it with a British-designed air defence system, the British government said.

"I am delighted that the UK and Poland’s deep and historic defence ties take another step forward with the signing of the largest ever UK defence export deal with Poland," British defence minister Ben Wallace said in a statement.

The missile deal will see Britain deliver 22 Polish air defence batteries with British Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMMs) and launchers. The government said the contract would support more than 500 jobs at MBDA UK.

The missile group is owned by France's Airbus and Britain's BAE Systems, both with a 37.5% stake, and by Italy's defence and aerospace group Leonardo, with the remaining 25%.

The government said the British-designed CAMMs developed by MBDA UK are already deployed to Poland with the British Army to protect its airspace following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The system can engage air and missile targets up to 25 kilometres away and is capable of hitting a tennis ball-sized object travelling beyond the speed of sound, the government said.

Last year, London, Warsaw and Kyiv agreed to develop trilateral co-operation by strengthening their defence capabilities and the NATO Eastern flank.

($1 = 0.8027 pounds)

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)