The Polish Ministry of Defence has signed the first execution contract to the framework agreement for the purchase of the K239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launcher system for the Polish Armed Forces. The contractor is the Korean company Hanwha Aerospace, which has recently merged with Hanwha Defense, the manufacturer of the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer and Redback AS21 Infantry Fighting Vehicle. As a result, the Polish Army will receive as many as 218 K239 Chunmoo launchers along with a stock of missiles as well as training, logistics and technical support packages.
Deliveries are to begin in 2023 and end in 2027. On the basis of the contract within the five years period, the Polish Army will receive more than 200 rocket launchers, along with according to the Armaments Agency, "more than 10 thousand missiles". The armament of the Polish Chunmoo will consist of both 80 km range missiles (six in a container) and tactical missiles with a range of 290 km (one in a container), with each of the Chunmoo launchers carrying two missile containers.
The first battalion with 18 rocket launchers is expected to reach initial readiness in 2023. It will be included in the structures of the newly formed 18th Artillery Regiment belonging to the 18th Mechanized Division.
The 18 launchers that will be delivered to Poland next year, will constitute the equipment of the 18th Mechanized Division, so they will protect the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance, will defend Eastern Poland, and will be an appropriate response to the threats flowing from the Eastern side. The point is to effectively deter the aggressor, to show and be strong enough that the aggressor does not dare to attack Poland, to attack the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance
Mariusz Błaszczak, Polish Minister of National Defence
Both the 18th Regiment and the subsequent units which will receive the Chunmoo system will gain capabilities that are practically absent in the Polish Rocket and Artillery Forces today. They will be able to hit targets at distances of up to 290 km with guided missiles, ensuring high precision. Let us remind you that today the division artillery regiments of the Land Forces can engage targets at distances of up to 40 km, using Krab howitzers and WR-40 Langusta rocket launchers. In both cases, in Poland, unguided ammunition is used for this equipment.
In turn, the Chunmoo system will allow you to hit targets inside the group of a potential enemy. 600 mm class tactical missiles and 239 mm caliber guided missiles will be able to be used, for example, to destroy ammunition depots, command points, transport junctions, airports and helipads, infrastructure deep in enemy rear as well as the adversarial air defence systems and missile launchers.
Missiles used in the Chunmoo system will also be able to be used to engage military assembly areas, as well as highly valuable enemy weapon systems, for example artillery systems or electronic warfare systems. In the event of possible aggression, all this will turn out to the possibility of a significant weakening of the enemy's forces even before they directly engage the friendly forces. This, in turn, will largely limit the effects of the numerical advantage, that Poland would likely face in case of an aggression.
The introduction of the Chunmoo system will also involve the need for a large-scale training of soldiers of the Polish Rocket Forces and Artillery, particularly as in recent years they have practically not used such weapon systems (the few post-Soviet OTR-21 Toczka launchers were withdrawn in 2005), and rocket artillery was represented in fact only by 122 mm unguided rocket launchers, such as the WR-40 Langusta and the older BM-21 Grad and RM-70.
Prior to delivery of the first battalion, a preliminary operation training will be provided in Korea. A follow on operation training will then be provided in Poland for immediate combat readiness of the Polish soldiers. For self-sustained training of the Polish soldiers, Hanwha's goal is to train designated instructors in the use of the Chunmoo system and these instructors will then continue to train the Polish soliders for future battalions
as Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President, Head of Hanwha Aerospace Europe Corporation told Defence24.pl.
The contract that was signed includes a training package that will prepare soldiers to use the new equipment. The Chunmoo system is highly automated, which makes it easy to operate, but also to sustain. The training will be carried out in the first stage in Korea, and then in Poland.
I think that our joint Polish-Korean success is that the first Chunmoo squadron will be delivered to Poland next year. Our next success is that this Chunmoo squadron will be built on Polish Jelcz trucks, i.e. trucks that are being built by the Polish Armaments Group. It will also be equipped with Polish communications and the Polish battlefield management system, which will also ensure that it will be operational also next year
Mariusz Błaszczak, Polish Minister of Defence.
Cooperation with the Polish industry is an important element of the Chunmoo program. It will include not only maintenance and in-service support for the system, but also the production of its key components. Already in the first stage, this will ensure the unification of the vehicles as well as the C2 systems within the Polish Armed Forces. In the next stage, the Polish Armed Forces will receive launchers and missiles produced by the Polish industry, which will absorb the transfer of technology and know-how from Korean partners.
Hanwha is committed to providing manufacturing capability for the 80km guided rocket, in Poland, together with the Polish defence industry - as Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President, Head of Hanwha Aerospace Europe Corporation told Defence24.pl.
As for the combat command and control system, all launchers and support vehicles for the Chunmoo system will be equipped with the Topaz C2/combat management system produced by the WB Group, well known to Polish artillery soldiers and used, for example, in the Krab, Rak, Langusta systems, as well as in modernized systems of older generation, such as Dana-T and 2S1 Gozdzik.
The Topaz system is being constantly developed. It is highly appreciated by artillery soldiers, also artillerymen from Ukraine, who have been using it for several months on Krab howitzers in combat conditions. In addition to facilitating training, its use on Chunmoo will also have the advantage that it will be easier to use reconnaissance systems integrated with this system, such as the FlyEye and the future Gladius UAVs or Liwiec artillery reconnaissance radars.
Let us add that, taking into account the high range of the Chunmoo system, its full use will require the use of a targeting system combining various reconnaissance systems, also those outside the Rocket Forces and Artillery or even the entire Land Forces. Chunmoo may engage targets designated, for example, by the Air Force or even satellite or allied means. However, the challenge will be to combine and analyze these data so that targets can be selected and engagement decisions can be made.
As for vehicles, all Chunmoo launchers will be mounted on Jelcz trucks. In turn, support vehicles, including ammunition and command vehicles, will be contracted directly from the Polish industry. In this way, the Polish Armed Forces will obtain complete battalions in a configuration adapted to their requirements and unified with other elements of the Polish Artillery engagement system.
The framework agreement signed in October also assumes that in the next stage of implementation, technologies and know-how for the production of Chunmoo launchers and guided rockets will be transferred to Poland. In this way, Poland will gain not only operational capabilities, but also industrial competences to produce this key system, thus being able to gradually replenish not only the launchers, but also key ammunition using its own industrial potential.
The Chunmoo system has an open architecture and integration is being considered for other types of missiles other than the Polish-acquired 600 mm tactical missiles and 239 mm guided missiles. In the Republic of Korea, Chunmoo uses, among other things, 227 mm KM26M unguided missiles, originally produced under the US license for M270 MLRS launchers, and lighter 130 mm unguided rockets.
In conclusion the introduction of more than 200 Chunmoo launchers to the Polish Army will allow the Polish army to gain the ability to precisely target targets at great depth, also available from the tactical union level of the Land Forces, which will significantly increase their potential. At the same time, the Polish industry will gain capabilities related to the construction and maintenance of this type of missile systems. The Polish Army and the Polish industry face a number of challenges related to the adoption of such a large number of missile systems for service, the construction of a targeting and logistics system. After meeting these challenges, Poland's defence capabilities will be significantly strengthened.