On May 5, Deputy Prime Minister M. Blaszczak met with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin in Washington. The topics of discussion included Polish-American military cooperation, the security situation on NATO’s eastern flank and in Europe, deepening military interoperability and the U.S. military presence in Poland. Speaking of strengthening the Polish Armed Forces, building interoperability and acquiring Boeing Apache helicopters, the head of the Ministry of Defense stressed that these are among the best machines in their class. The talks at the Pentagon also discussed aspects of the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius. The discussion included issues of commitments to prepare response plans and increase the financial commitment to strengthen the defense forces of NATO countries.
“Ever since the founding of our republic, Americans and Poles have fought alongside one another,” Austin said. “And the bond between our two countries continues to grow stronger to this day. In fact, without Poland’s tremendous contributions, we would never have been able to do as much for Ukraine after Russia’s indefensible invasion,” Austin said.
“We have an agreement on eight helicopters. They will arrive in Poland when Polish soldiers – pilots and technicians – have been trained. However, I will say cautiously that we are unlikely to complete the training this year. But we will start training as soon as possible. Apaches are great weapons and indeed give an advantage to the army that owns these helicopters. These are the best attack helicopters in the world,” Blaszczak said.
During the meeting at the Pentagon, Deputy Prime Minister M. Blaszczak and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin signed an agreement on reciprocity in defense procurement, which will strengthen cooperation in the military-technical area. On Friday, a memorial plaque depicting Polish-American cooperation over the centuries was unveiled at the Pentagon. During his visit to the US, the head of the Ministry of Defense attended the traditional 3 May Constitution parade in Chicago and met with the Polish community living in the U.S.. The Deputy Prime Minister also took part in the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Illinois National Guard.
The Polish Defense Minister praised the solidarity, unity and unprecedented support Poland is the site of a U.S.-led NATO Battle Group, and the country hosts thousands of U.S. service members. Poland is investing in facilities for the U.S. forces, including the headquarters for the U.S. V Corps. Poland has divested itself of much old, Soviet-era equipment and has invested in state-of-the-art U.S. systems, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Abrams tank, the Patriot missile system, and the HIMARS multiple rocket-launching system. The Polish defense minister will travel to Illinois to mark the 30th anniversary of his country’s partnership with the Illinois National Guard as part of the State Partnership Program.