Poland and South Korea on Wednesday signed a framework agreement for what is believed to be Seoul’s biggest arms deal ever. South Korean manufacturers will supply nearly 1,000 tanks, more than 600 artillery pieces and nearly 50 fighter jets to the Eastern European nation.
The multi-billion dollar deal will be among the biggest and largest Polish defense orders in recent years and will significantly strengthen the country’s armed forces, the Polish Ministry of Defense said in a press release.
Orders are split into two stages, according to the press release. The first stage involves 180 K2 tanks and 48 K9 howitzers, the first deliveries of which are expected this year. The second stage will include more than 800 upgraded K2PL tanks and 600 K9 howitzers and will involve technology transfers: both weapons will be produced in Poland from 2026.
Under a separate contract, Poland will also acquire 48 FA-50 jet aircraft that can be used for both training and combat. According to the Polish Defense Ministry, the first aircraft will be delivered next year. The FA-50 will allow Warsaw to scrap its post-Soviet aircraft and intensify the training of Polish pilots, the ministry’s press release said.
The arms deal will be a key part of Poland’s efforts to rearm following the conflict in Ukraine, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. “We are learning lessons from what is happening in Ukraine. (…) We see that armored forces and artillery today have great importance on the battlefield, hence the decision to strengthen this type of armies”, the minister told reporters after approving the contracts.
Asked if its cooperation with Poland meant Seoul was ready to provide more aid to Kyiv, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin stressed that the deal was strictly bilateral, Reuters reported.
Although the price of the purchase has not been made public, it is expected to exceed the $7 billion total value of all weapons sold by South Korea to global customers. last year. With fighter jets alone priced at $3 billion, the overall amount is estimated at $14-15 billion, potentially exceeding Poland’s entire defense allocation for the current year. $14.1 billion.
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