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Polish army receives more K2 tanks and K9 howitzers from South Korea.

| 2023

After his official announcement made on March 14, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on March 22 posted a tweet confirming that a ship had arrived at the port of Gdynia from South Korea, delivering five more Korean K2 tanks and twelve K9 self-propelled howitzers announced on the same day: "(…) We are thus supplementing our military units with equipment from South Korea, which comes as the implementation of last year’s agreements".
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The K2 tanks and K9 howitzers will go to the 16th Mechanized Division, in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie province, which borders Russia (Picture source: Twitter account of Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak)

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak recalled that the first delivery of Korean equipment arrived in Poland last December. The tanks and howitzers will go to the 16th Mechanized Division, in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie province, which borders Russia. Quoted by TVP World, Mariusz Błaszczak said: "The idea is to create a force capable of deterring an aggressor. Putin should think a few times before making a bad decision to attack Poland. This is the implementation in practice of the doctrine of deterrence and defense, the doctrine of the North Atlantic Alliance". The defense minister drew attention to the permanent presence of U.S. troops in Poland.

In July 2022, TVP World recalls, the Ministry of Defense concluded a framework agreement providing for the purchase of 672 Hanwha Aerospace-produced 155mm howitzers on the K9A1 crawler chassis as well as its K9PL version designed in line with Poland’s requirements. The agreement also included auxiliary vehicles, training and logistics package, ammunition stockpiles, and technical support. The framework agreement for the purchase of K2 tanks manufactured by Huyndai Rotem provides for the purchase of 1,000 of these vehicles.

The purchase contract for 180 K2 tanks amounts to USD 5.8 bn. According to the framework agreement, 820 tanks ordered in a further stage are to be manufactured under license in Poland. The first delivery consisting of 10 tanks and 24 howitzers was ceremonially received in December 2022 by President Andrzej Duda and the head of the Ministry of Defense.

The K2 Black Panther was designed by the Agency for Defense Development and is manufactured by Hyundai Rotem. The tank's design began in the 1990s to meet the strategic requirements of the Republic of the Korean Army's reform for three-dimensional, high-speed maneuver warfare based on the use of network-centric warfare. Mass production commenced in 2013, and the first K2s were deployed with the South Korean armed forces in July 2014. Poland is the latest new operator.

The K9 Thunder is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed and developed by the Agency for Defense Development and civil contractors including Dongmyeong Heavy Industries, Kia Heavy Industry, Poongsan Corporation, and Samsung Aerospace Industries for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, and is now manufactured by Hanwha Defense. K9 howitzers operate in groups with the K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicle variant. The entire K9 fleet operated by the ROK Armed Forces is now undergoing upgrades to K9A1, and a further upgrade variant K9A2 is being tested for production. As of 2022, the K9 series has had a 52% share of the global self-propelled howitzer market, including wheeled vehicles, since the year 2000.

Defense News March 2023

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