Photo Credit: PAP/Leszek Szymanski
Poland is replenishing its arsenal with tanks, artillery and fighter jets from South Korea. The procurement was made as part of the country’s intention to replenish its inventory after donating their weapons to Ukraine to aid Kyiv in fighting off the invasion against invasion by Russia. A total of 1000 tanks, 600 units of artillery will be delivered to Poland.
The Polish government has announced that they will be receiving a shipment containing 648 self-propelled howitzers, 960 tanks based on the K2 model manufactured by South Korea and 48 FA-50 fighter jets. The news should make the ears of Polish citizens come Wednesday.
The Defense Ministry does not have any comment on the value of their purchases.
The first batch of tanks is set to arrive this year. The 120 mm guns on these K2 models manufactured by Hyundai Rotem make them perfect for combat conditions. In 2026, Poland will begin manufacturing the upgraded models of the tank.
The K9 howitzers are set to arrive this year and followed with the delivery of 48 Hanwha Defense-made weapons in 2024. An additional of 600 more howitzers will then follow. By 2025, these pieces of machinery will be produced locally in Polish facilities.
The ministry reports that they’ve purchased new tanks, which will be replacing the Soviet-era vehicles they gave to Ukraine.
According to the Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, the agreement they had with the South Koreans would “significantly increase Poland’s security and the strength of the Polish Army.”
Chun In-Bum, a retired general from South Korea, said that the deal made by Poland and South Korea is Seoul’s biggest arms deal to date. He further explained that the choice of artilleries is excellent. Chun said, “The K9 (howitzer)… is probably the best artillery system in the world, rivaled only by the German system. The FA-50 is a combat version of the T-50, which has gained a reputation for being the best trainer in the world inventory. The K2 tank in its latest version will be better than anything South Korea has to date.”
It is urgently needed by the Polish
Poland needs to acquire arms from South Korea. This was evident when the defense minister of Poland visited last May to the country. Then, he came back with an agreement in hand seeking out further weapons for his country’s army.
After seeing the scope of the South Korean military, the Polish defense minister said, “We talked about accelerating the deliveries of these weapons to the Polish Army. Why is it important? Because of the war on our eastern border. It is important for the Polish Armed Forces to be equipped with modern equipment, proven equipment, and such is the equipment produced by Korea.”
Poland and Korea faced the same security situations, so they needed to have similar weapons, added the defense minister.
“Why is Korean equipment proven? Because Korea has the challenge of its northern neighbor, who also conducts an aggressive policy, so our task is to equip the Polish Armed Forces with modern equipment. Equipment that will deter the aggressor. Such equipment is undoubtedly … produced in Korea,” Blaszczak justified.
It’s not the right fit
Aside from the Defense Minister, who believes that this partnership will be beneficial for Poland and South Korea alike, some experts question if it’s really appropriate in a European setting.
As an example, Nicholas Drummond, a former British Army officer said that the K2 tank is weaker than the Leopard 2 battle tanks used by German military forces.
“Same gun. Same engine and gearbox. But overall less sophisticated with inferior electronic architecture. Not a bad tank. But not class of the field,” the defense analyst said.
With Russia and Ukraine in an ongoing conflict, it’s possible that supply chain disruptions will occur which could eventually lead to a decrease of production for these planned armories.
“It is right that Asian countries buy from Korea as these customers can easily be supported in time of war. But supporting European customers in an emergency is likely to be more challenging,” Drummond emphasized.
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.