Poland will buy 48 FA-50 fighter jets, a first instalment of 180 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks and unspecified number of K9 155 mm self-propelled howitzers from South Korea, Polish defence minister was quoted as saying on Friday, as the country strengthens its army because of the war in Ukraine. The Ukraine invasion has raised security fears among many former eastern bloc countries, and NATO member Poland has vowed to boost defense spending to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) and more than double the size of its army to deter any attacks. Warsaw has also given a number of weapons from its arsenal to Ukraine and is trying to replace them.
“We’re signing contracts next week. With this contract, we will significantly increase Poland’s security and the strength of the Polish Army. Fast delivery and industry development are key! We reconciled the often divergent interests of soldiers and the arms industry. We are aware of Poland’s challenges raised by the war in Ukraine and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s aggressive policy… Our aim is to scare the aggressor and strengthen the Polish army as much as possible. We support Ukraine because it is fighting for us, but we must also strengthen our own defense capabilities,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in a tweet on Friday.
The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). It is a light combat version of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft. The combat aircraft is intended to meet the light fighter requirements of air forces around the world. The aircraft can be armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground tactical missiles (AGM), GBU-38/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon (SFW), Mk-82 Low Drag General Purpose (LDGP) bombs and Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs).
The K2 Black Panther is a next-generation South Korean main battle tank designed by the Agency for Defense Development and manufactured by Hyundai Rotem. Developed as a modern replacement for most of the remaining M48 Patton tanks currently fielded by the South Korean military, the K2 Black Panther combines an auto-loaded 120 mm main gun, advanced composite armour, along with hard and soft-kill active protection systems. The K9 Thunder is a South Korean 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed and developed by the Agency for Defense Development and Samsung Aerospace Industries for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, and is now manufactured by Hanwha Defense.