Warsaw is embarking on its biggest re-armament drive in 50 years in response to the growing threat posed by Russia, Report informs via The Telegraph.
But in mid-December, Poland’s 11th Artillery Regiment received 24 South-Korean made K9 self-propelled howitzers that can hit targets up to 34 miles away, bringing new and deadly capabilities to the regiment. Stationed not far from the Russian border, Captain Marek Adamiak unit has long grappled with outdated kit.
“As an artillery officer I’m excited by the new equipment,” Captain Adamiak told The Telegraph. “We can manoeuvre better, we can shoot from anywhere. There is no place we can’t shoot from. We had a lot of old artillery but now we have very new weapons.”
The war happening in neighboring Ukraine has given the Poles the confidence that if the conflict came to their doorstep, they would now have the weapons to fight back.
The 24 guns are just the tip of a massive defence spending programme by Poland.
Spurred on by war next door and the growing fear that Poland could one day be in the sights of the Kremlin looking to return to the days when the Russian empire once stretched to River Vistula, the Polish government is determined to arm up – and fast.
This year it will spend 4 percent of its GDP on defence, an amount double the Nato requirement, and one that will make Poland the biggest, per-capita, spender on defence in the alliance.
Some of the deals for new equipment pre-date the Ukraine war when Poland, already conscious of the Russian threat, had started to revamp armed forces still burdened with a lot of Soviet-era equipment.
“The criminal assault carried out by the Russian Federation, targeting Ukraine, and the unpredictable nature of Putin means that we need to accelerate the equipment modernisation even further,” Mariusz Blaszczak, the Polish defence minister, told the Defence24 portal.
“It is of key importance to increase the levels of security as fast as possible for Poland. We can do this only by creating a strong military. Strong enough to deter any potential aggressor from deciding to attack.”
Poland has placed orders for 1,000 K2 main battle tanks from South Korea, and 250 brand new M1A2 SEPv3 Abram tanks from the US. This will turn Poland into the owner of Europe’s biggest tank force, dwarfing the UK’s fleet of 227.
Its artillery will be bolstered by the arrival of 600 K9s, 18 HIMARS launchers with 9,000 rockets, and 288 K239 Chunmoo MRL systems from South Korea.
Over 1,000 Polish-made Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles will carry Polish troops into battle, while air cover will come from 96 AH-64E Apache helicopters bought from the US, and 48 FA-50 combat aircraft now on order from South Korea.
All of this will be underscored by plans to double the size of the Polish Army to 300,000, which would turn Poland into Europe’s biggest military power, in terms of manpower, west of Ukraine.