Armed Forces

Poland Starting to Revive Its Artillery Capabilities. First HIMARS Arrived

Photo. Maciej Szopa/Defence24

Warsaw Chopin Airport (namely the 1st Airlift Base located there) became a venue for the handing over ceremony during which the Polish Armed Forces received the HIMARS launchers.

The hall located within the military perimeter of the Warsaw Chopin Airport was used to showcase 5 out of 20 launchers procured back in 2018. They are going to be used to equip the first artillery squadron as such.

The 5 launchers above were transported to Poland with the use of Antonov Airlines’ An-124.

The first of the delivered launchers would be commissioned in the 1st "Mazurska" Artillery Brigade of the 16th Division, and that means they would be stationed in the northeastern part of the country", Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish MoD said. "I am also an optimist when it comes to the next contract regarding these launchers; I talked to the manufacturer and the US Defence Secretary. (...) We are negotiating another agreement regarding the HIMARS systems; The US Congress issued approval on the sale of almost 500 launchers to Poland. These launchers would be imported to Poland as soon as possible, and they would be installed on Jelcz trucks. We want to create circumstances, resulting on the grounds of that newly negotiated contract, in which HIMARS systems would be co-manufactured in Poland, and that refers to both the launchers, and rockets. This is the objective that we are setting for ourselves, Błaszczak stated.

Photo. Maciej Szopa/
Photo. Maciej Szopa/

I remain optimistic when it comes to the next agreement. I have had a very good conversation with Secretary (of Defense - editor's note) Lloyd Austin. (...) I have also talked to Lockheed Martin's management, Błaszczak said. He hopes the next contract, regarding the HIMARS systems, would be signed as soon as possible.

The Armament Agency of the Polish Ministry of Defence has invited Lockheed Martin to negotiate a framework agreement for the Homar-A programme. This project assumes that Lockheed Martin, jointly with the Polish industry, would integrate the key elements of the HIMARS system on a Polish Jelcz 6x6 platform. The negotiation would also include a discussion on the possible co-production of rockets in Poland.

Minister stated that the "HIMARS Academy" training facility would be established in Toruń soon, expected to train soldiers in operating the launchers, and also to deal with logistics and maintenance efforts tied to the M142 HIMARS assets. We know what's happening in Ukraine, as we're observing that, the artillery is playing a key role (...), hence our efforts aimed at expanding the artillery capabilities, Błaszczak added.

Back in 2019 the Polish Ministry of Defence procured 20 M142 HIMARS launchers, including 2 for training purposes, along with relevant support equipment. The agreement had a value of USD 414 million. Along with the launchers, Poland also procured GMLRS live missiles (range of ca. 70 kilometers), ATACMS missiles (range of up to 300 kilometers), and LCRRPR training projectiles as well. All of those assets would be complemented by command and support vehicles. The agreement also covers the logistics, training, and technical support.