Poland buys South Korean rocket artillery systems

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WARSAW, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Poland has signed an agreement to purchase 288 South Korean rocket artillery systems Chunmoo, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Wednesday.

“(…) the first Chunmoo squadron will be delivered to Poland next year … 18 launchers that will be delivered to Poland next year will defend eastern Poland,” Blaszczak said after signing the agreement.

Poland signed a deal with Hanwha Defense, the defence unit of South Korea’s Hanwha Corp, on Wednesday to buy the K239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers, officials said.

Under the contract, South Korea will supply 288 multiple rocket launchers, with 18 expected to arrive in Poland as early as 2023, the Polish defence ministry said.

The first K9 self-propelled howitzer to be exported to Poland moves to a roll-out ceremony at Hanwha Defense Co. in Changwon, 301 kilometers southeast of Seoul, South Korea, 19 October 2022. The South Korean made howitzer is among more than 200 units to be shipped to Poland under a contract signed in July. EPA-EFE/YONHAP

The agreement comes as South Korean companies shipped the first batch of tanks and howitzers to Poland.

The two countries signed a $5.8 billion contract in Warsaw in July in a deal that Poland said was a key part of its effort to beef up its military after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Feb. 24 invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation”, has raised security fears among many former eastern bloc countries. NATO member Poland has vowed to boost defence spending to 3% of gross domestic product and to more than double the size of its army.

Hyundai Rotem Co. said its first shipment included 10 K2 Black Panther tanks of the 180 to be delivered by 2025. Hanwha Defense said it was sending 24 K9 self-propelled howitzers, among 212 to be shipped by 2026.

Poland has also agreed to buy 48 FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea. Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, said in a July media interview the aircraft would be delivered next year.

Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Additional reporting by Anna Koper in Warsaw. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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