The Polish Army debuts new battle tanks, and also does so as the first user in the European Union of tanks manufactured in an Asian country.
On December 5, 10 K2 tanks and 24 K9 howitzers arrived in Poland
As you will remember, in October the first ten main battle tanks K2 Panther Poland were presented and the first 24 self-propelled howitzers K9 Thunder purchased by the Polish Army. The presentation was made at the Hyundai Rotem Company factory in Changwon, South Korea. On December 5, these armored vehicles arrived at the Polish port of Gdynia, aboard a ship.
The tanks arrived in Poland already wear the three-color NATO camouflage used by the Polish Army (black, olive green and brown), while the K9s wear the four-color MERDC camouflage (green, black, brown and sand) used by the Republic of Korea Army, a sign that the self-propelled howitzers were originally intended for the South Korean Army.
The purpose of these tanks: stop Russian imperial ambitions
Upon arrival of those vehicles in Poland, Polish President Andrzej Duda has already signaled the end of this material: to stop Russia's imperial ambitions, which have been embodied since February 24 in an invasion against Ukraine, committing all kinds of atrocities against the civilian population of that country. Also, on May 13, the Russian State Duma threatened Poland with being the next invaded. Poland is one of the European countries that has sent the most military aid to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression, aid that includes hundreds of T-72 and PT-91 Twardy tanks from the Polish Army.
These aids have forced Poland to purchase new tanks to replace those delivered to Ukraine. These purchases include 250 M-1A2 SEP v3 Abrams tanks, 116 second-hand M-1 Abrams and 1,000 K-2 Black Panther. Of the latter, 180 will be K2 already manufactured by South Korea and 820 will be K2PL, which will begin to be manufactured in Poland in 2026 and which, unlike the original K2, will have seven wheels in contact with the ground instead of six, to better adapted to the swampy terrain of the eastern part of Poland.
The presentation was made 56 km from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad
The first 10 K2 received this week have been presented today at the base of the 20th Mechanized Brigade "Bartoszyce" in Morąg, Masuria, 56 km from the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, to leave even more The purpose of these armored vehicles is clear: to defend Poland from a possible Russian attack. "We couldn't have hoped for a better gift for Christmas", declared Colonel Tomasz Biedziak, during the presentation ceremony.
"We want to have an army so strong, so well modernized, that no one would think of attacking Poland"
The event was attended by the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and the Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, who reviewed the new armored vehicles, as we can see below these lines. "Whoever saves on the army will pay a very high bill. All the residents of Russia are aware of the threat that this neighborhood represents. That is why recently, especially in recent years, we have made a great effort to strengthen and modernize the Polish army," Morawiecki said in a statement published by Polska Zbrojna. "We want to have an army so strong, so well modernized, that no one would think of attacking Poland", added the Polish Prime Minister.
The Polish Prime Minister appreciated that the K2 tanks delivered to Poland were obtained at a reasonable price and, importantly, are compatible with NATO weaponry. "After February 24 , the world woke up from its geopolitical lethargy. Today, we are among those who set goals for others,", said Morawiecki, noting that probably next year the United States and Poland will be the countries that allocate the most funds to defense in relation to GDP.
"Our priority is the security of our Homeland"
"We are strengthening the Polish army because our priority is the security of our Homeland", Błaszczak pointed out. "We are consistent in this action. I am very happy that in such a short time we have achieved the success that the highest quality equipment has gone to Poland". The Polish Minister of National Defense pointed out that the K2 tank is one of the most modern in the world: "It is a tank with great potential. We use the best experience developed in South Korea."
In 2023 there will be more K2 deliveries to Poland, this time for the 16th Mechanized Division
Błaszczak has pointed out that the choice of the 20th Mechanized Brigade for these tanks is not accidental, noting that the soldiers of that unit are well prepared for the effective defense of their country, "what is demonstrates in their daily service, among others at the border of Poland and Belarus or Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast". The minister also noted that "further deliveries are scheduled for next year. The tanks will be transferred to the 16th Mechanized Division", which is based in Olsztyn, near the place where the K2s were presented today.
The armed K2 has a 120mm smoothbore cannon as its main weapon, as well as a 7.62mm machine gun and a 12.7mm heavy machine gun. It has an advanced fire control system and armor with high ballistic and anti-mine resistance, and can also be complemented with active protection systems such as soft kill (VIRSS) and hard kill (KAPS). The tank is powered by a 1500 hp diesel engine with an automatic gearbox. The total weight of K2 is 55 tons.
Photos: Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej / Polska Zbrojna.
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