Following Russian invasion threats against Poland in May, the Poles are preparing to defend themselves and will do so with a large armored force.
This Wednesday, the Minister of Defense of Poland, Mariusz Błaszczak, signed the arms contracts concluded with South Korea for the purchase of new equipment for the Polish Army. The minister has confirmed the arms figures included in those deals, which are the largest military contract in Polish history. Let's take a look at the numbers.
1,000 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks: will be distributed in two batches. The first will consist of 180 K2 already manufactured by South Korea and whose deliveries will begin this year (in June there had already been talk of the possible purchase of that number of tanks from the Asian country). The novelty is that there will be a second batch made up of 820 K2PLs, whose production will start in Poland in 2026. Subsequently, the initial 180 K2s will be upgraded to the K2PL version.
The K2 has a 120 mm cannon with a capacity for 40 projectiles, a maximum speed of 70 km/h, a range of 450 km and a weight of 55 tons. Currently its only operator is South Korea. Norway is currently evaluating it. Egypt and Oman have also shown their interest in it.
600 K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers: Błaszczak has indicated that the first 48 will be delivered this year. Deliveries of the remaining ones will start in 2024 and from 2026 the others will be manufactured in Poland. In addition, the minister has indicated that the production of Polish AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers will continue, a model that combines the K9 chassis with the British AS-90M Braveheart turret. Poland already bought 120 of these howitzers in 2014, of which it donated 18 to Ukraine. A month ago it was announced that Poland will sell 54 more Krabs to the Ukrainian Army. Błaszczak has justified the purchase of Korean howitzers due to the impossibility of manufacturing in Poland all that the country needs.
The K9 Thunder has a 155 mm cannon and can carry 48 projectiles. It is a tracked vehicle capable of reaching a maximum speed of 67 km/h, with a range of 360 km. Its shots have a range of up to 54 km with the most advanced ammunition available today, although South Korea is evaluating an improved version that could hit targets at 100 km.
48 light fighters KAI FA-50 Golden Eagle: they will serve to replace the already obsolete MiG-29 of Soviet origin. This purchase was already announced in June. Błaszczak has specified that the Polish Air Force will receive the first 12 aircraft in mid-2023.
The FA-50 Golden Eagle is based on the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced supersonic trainer aircraft. It made its first flight in 2011. It can reach a top speed of 1,837 km/h (Mach 1.5) and has a range of 1,851 km. It is equipped with a three-barreled 200mm rotary cannon, and can carry weapons for air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. Poland will receive a polonized version, the FA-50PL.
Poland's recent arms purchases from other countries
It must be remembered that these are not the only arms purchases announced by Poland. A month ago that country confirmed the purchase of more weapons systems, including the following:
In addition to these purchases, a month ago the Polish government announced that its Armed Forces will be increased to 400,000 soldiers in the near future. Thus, the Polish Army will be one of the largest and most modern armies in NATO. Something that is going to cost Poland a considerable economic effort, but it has no choice if it wants to guarantee its survival against the growing threat of Russian imperialism.
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