The Polish defense ministry said it bought K2 tanks and K9 howitzers based on what it learnt from the ongoing Ukraine war.
On July 27, Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Błaszczak approved arms contracts with South Korea for the purchase of K2 tanks, howitzers and FA-50 aircraft.
“Under the framework agreement signed, we will order 1,000 K2 tanks, over 600 K9 howitzers and also 3 FA-50 squadrons. It can be said that we have already ordered just such a weapon. Why such a weapon? Because we learn lessons from what is happening in Ukraine. We learn lessons from how the aggressor attacks, how Russia has attacked. We can see that armored forces and artillery are of great importance on the battlefield nowadays, hence the decision to strengthen this type of armed forces,” Błaszczak said.
He added that it is important to have a large number of tanks. "In the case of tanks, it is extremely important that we have a very large force at our disposal. Hence the large number associated with tanks. Korean tanks, like all Korean weapons, are proven because Korea has been preparing for war for 70 years, wanting peace. It is known to be under threat, so this Korean equipment must be of the highest quality,” the minister explained.
Poland’s K2 procurement has been divided into two stages: purchase of 180 tanks whose delivery will begin this year, and then buying over 800 K2PL tanks in the second stage. Production of K2PL tanks will take place in Poland. K2s acquired in the first stage will also be modernized to the K2PL standard.
The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the first stage of howitzer deliveries which could be around 48, will begin this year.
"In the case of howitzers, the design is very similar to the Polish KRABs. I strongly emphasize that we will order as many KRABs in Poland as possible, so all the production capacities of Polish plants will be used. But our needs are much greater than the production capacity of Huta Stalowa Wola, which is why we have decided on such a transaction. I underline that our cooperation with Korea is strategic. This is not filling the gaps we have in our armed forces. This is a strategic approach,” he said.
Deliveries of another 600 howitzers will start in 2024, and from 2026 they will be produced in Poland. From the very beginning, K9 will be equipped with Polish communication systems and will be plugged into the integrated Topaz combat management system.
Meanwhile, the Polish Air Force will receive 12 FA-50 jets in mid-2023, with a total of 48 aircraft being delivered. The aircraft will be configured in accordance with the precise requirements presented by the Polish Air Force (IFF NATO), will have increased operational capabilities and the Block 20 standard.