Poland signs weapons contracts with South Korea

AFP , Wednesday 27 Jul 2022

Poland signed Wednesday contracts to purchase South Korean weapons including tanks, artillery and fighter jets as the NATO member bordering Russia and Ukraine boosts its defences.

Poland signed contracts with South Korea
On July 27, 2022, Poland signed contracts with South Korea to acquire K2 tanks, K9 155mm howitzers, and FA-50 fighter aircraft. Photo courtesy of Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz B aszczak Twitter account.


The amount of the contracts, signed at a ceremony in the Polish capital with representatives of Korea Aerospace Industries and Hyundai, was not provided.

"We're drawing lessons from what's happening in Ukraine," Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told journalists after the ceremony.

"Time is pressing, we need to equip the Polish military," he added.

Defence ministry officials said the first of the 48 FA-50 light combat fighter jets will arrive next year.

The aircraft are meant to replace Soviet MiG-29s still in service in the Polish air force, alongside US-made F-16 and eventually F-35 stealth jets.

The head of Korea Aerospace Industries, Ahn Hyunho, said the company plans to progressively transfer production of the planes to Poland.

Poland will also initially buy 180 K2 "Black Panther" tanks built by Hyundai Rotem before eventually acquiring more than 800 of a special variant to be called K2PL, production of which is start in Poland in 2026.

Delivery of 48 K9 howitzers is expected this year, but the Polish defence ministry said that the acquisition of another approximately 600 of them will begin in 2024, with domestic production slated to start in 2026.

Earlier this month, Poland said it would buy 32 AW149 multi-role military helicopters worth 1.75 billion euros ($1.77 billion) from Italian arms company Leonardo.

It has also ordered 366 American Abrams tanks and European surface-to-air missile systems.

Poland finalised last year a deal to buy 32 F-35s and has around 50 F-16 fighters in service.

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