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Land Forces

Almost 500 HIMARS Systems for the Polish Army. Agreement Signed

HIMARS na Jelczu
HIMARS launcher mock-up on a Jelcz base platform.
Photo. Maciej Szopa/Defence24

Framework agreement approved by the head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, envisages that 486 M142 HIMARS launchers would be procured for 27 rocket artillery battaalions. The procurement was codenamed Homar-A to make it separate from the acquisition of the South Korean Chunmoo systems. Poland is to procure up to 290 of those, named Homar-K.

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The agreement between the Polish Treasury and Lockheed Martin was signed on 11th September, and it includes launchers, logistics support, training, and maintenance. The deliveries may begin in late 2025, two years after the first battalion is delivered (the first elements are being received by Poland now).

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Let us recall - currently 18 combat-ready and two training launchers are being delivered, based on an order placed in early 2019. The deliveries include GMLRS rocket artillery rockets (range of 70-85 kilometres), surface-to-surface ATACMS missiles (range exceeding 300 kilometres), and training munitions, command vehicles, munition carriers, ARV vehicles, and support packages. The former contract also covered the procurement of 300 rockets for combat use, all using combined GPS/INS guidance units. That means that point targets can be attacked with the use of those rockets.

The framework agreement concluded does not cover many elements of the procurement, munitions included. Hence, Homar-A requires the signing of further agreements, involving domestic and foreign companies. The Polish businesses would deliver command vehicles, ARVs, munition carriers, and support platforms. Procurement of those elements would capitalize on the experience that the Polish Ministry of Defence and Armament Agency acquired during Phase I of the Wisła programme.

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Waran w wersji Wozu Dowodzenia
Photo. Jerzy Reszczyński/Defence24.pl

That would entail an in-depth polonization of HIMARS - the system is to be based on Jelcz trucks and it would be integrated with the Topaz FCS. The command vehicles will utilize the Waran ATV as the base platform. The Polish Ministry of Defence also announced that plans have been developed to procure technologies associated with a “selected rocket used by the HIMARS systems”.

Lockheed Martin claims the agreement covers "several thousand rockets". This somewhat confirms the plan to manufacture the rockets in Poland. Poland, using the FMS scheme, obtained approval to purchase less than 10 thousand missiles, including 45 ATACMS, around 3 thousand brand-new GMLRS-ER (range of 150-200 kilometres), and around 6 thousand GMLRS rounds. The FMS approval had covered 486 launchers, the aforesaid number of missiles, and a support package, with a maximum total price tag of USD 10 bn.

Standard HIMARS launcher carries six GMLRS(-ER) rockets or a single ATACMS missile. In the future, new PrSM missiles are to become available, with ranges of 500, and ultimately 1,000 kilometres - two per a single launch container.

Commissioning that big a number of launchers and munitions would be a major capability leap for the land forces, and also a serious logistical, financial, and training challenge. Just for 27 HIMARS battalions alone, around 10 thousand professional troops would be needed (or active reserve). We need to remember Poland is also procuring Chunmoo systems and expanding its artillery with Krab and K9 howitzers. Conditions associated with the transfer of technologies would also be relevant, as it would be best to sign contracts that would allow for integration of the GMLRS Missiles on the Chunmoo system, including cluster and fuel-air explosive warheads that could be designed by the Polish industry.

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