The UK and Poland have what is currently being described as one of the closest partnerships within NATO (GOV.UK, 2022; Martin, 2023). This research paper will examine how this relationship has developed, with a special interest in the signing of the 2017 Treaty on Defence and Security Cooperation. The 2017 Treaty encouraged cooperation between the UK and Poland in a range of areas, including multiple agreements on exchanging military equipment and training of troops. These agreements became even more relevant, and arguably essential in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
From 13 to 14 July 2022, London hosted the Global Air and Space Chiefs’ Conference, where British Air Chief Marshall Sir Mike Wigston announced that the Royal Air Force had successfully conducted the testing of drone swarms with the purpose of striking air enemy defences: “Our swarming drone trials point to the enormous operational potential for these systems to confuse and overwhelm an adversary’s air defences. In the last three years, 216 Test and Evaluation Sqn, alongside the Rapid Capabilities Office, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and industry will have trialled five drone types in thirteen trials of new payloads, new platforms, and new control systems. We are exploring new models of capability delivery and accelerated production “when we need them” rather than “in case we need them” from the twin jet 3D-printed Pizookie, to commercially available large drones fitted with novel payloads, to large quadcopters.”
Immersive close combat training technology specialists, 4GD, have been awarded a contract to supply first-to-market smart urban warfare training targets to the British Army.
The ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine has resulted in Ukraine and Poland seeking closer defence ties to the UK. This desire for closer cooperation has now become codified in a new security pact between the two eastern European countries and the UK, announced on 17 February 2022. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the agreement seeks to deepen ties between the three countries in vital areas of national defence, primarily “in matters of cyber security, energy security and countering disinformation.” Further details of what the security pact entails are expected soon, as the three countries are expected to publish a “yet-to-be-developed memorandum of understanding” in the coming days.
Tony Radakin, who served as First Sea Lord of the UK Royal Navy and Naval Service from June 2019 to November 2021, was appointed Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 30 November 2021.