Polish MoD: Korean MBTs and IFVs for the Polish Armed Forces
During a summary-coordinative meeting of the leadership of the Polish Armed Forces, the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, announced that South Korean equipment would soon be procured for the Polish Army, including MBTs and IFVs.
During the briefing, numerous declarative statements were made, referring to the procurement of military equipment - including the planned Kormoran II MCMV procurement, Rosomak APC/ZSSW-30 turret procurement, the Ottokar-Brzoza tank destroyer programme, or the acquisition of the AW149 helicopters in the Perkoz programme. The head of the Polish Ministry of Defence also mentioned purchases expected to be made in the Republic of Korea - including infantry fighting vehicles that would complement the domestically-made Borsuk IFV, howitzers, and K2 MBTs.
Speaking to Defence24.pl, spokesman for the Armament Agency, Lt. Col. Krzysztof Płatek stated that no formal procurement procedures have been launched, nonetheless, the technical talks are already underway. When it comes to the specific programmes, speaking of IFV, we are dealing with a “prospective, not a gap-filler” solution. The above means that AS-21 Redback is given consideration, instead of the legacy K21 design.
When it comes to self-propelled howitzers, the talks cover the matter of the K9 base platform that can then be used by HSW S.A. to increase the manufacturing output regarding the Polish Krab sph. HSW has recently secured an export order. Furthermore, an extra contract is also expected to be signed domestically. Krab is based on the license-manufactured K9 platform, but the first batch has been delivered by the South Korean industry.
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When it comes to the MBT programme, what is at stake is a “spiral development of capacity”, assuming that a certain number of existing main battle tanks would be procured to meet the most urgent requirements. In parallel, manufacturing capacity would be established in Poland, following a transfer of technologies, and delivery of the existing vehicles. Then, the final configuration MBTs would be procured, and these would be delivered by the domestic industry. The previously procured lot would undergo a relevant upgrade programme.
The ROK procurement route is tied to the process of reinforcement of the Polish Armed Forces' capabilities, following the adoption of the Act on Homeland Defence, and within the context of the heightened levels of threat caused by the Russian aggression targeting Ukraine. As of next year, the defence expenditure level is to go up to 3% of GDP. During the briefing, the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence announced that extra two divisions would be formed, alongside the 4 already existing (taking into account the 18th Mechanized Division, the forming of which is currently underway).