MoD seals South Korean defence contracts

Poland's defence minister on Wednesday confirmed three arms contracts with South Korea, under which Poland will receive FA-50 fighters, K2 tanks and K9 self-propelled howitzers. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Poland's defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Wednesday confirmed three arms contracts with South Korea, under which Poland will receive FA-50 fighters, K2 tanks and K9 self-propelled howitzers.

The tank deal is split into two tranches, in the first Poland will receive 180 vehicles, with the first deliveries expected still this year. The second tranche will cover over 800 tanks and the beginning of their production in Poland.

The howitzer contract is also divided into two tranches, the first covering 48 units, some of which are to arrive in Poland this year to compensate for military equipment donated to Ukraine. Further deliveries of over 600 howitzers are to launch in 2024. From 2026 the K9s will be manufactured in Poland.

The fighter contract covers 48 aircraft, 12 of which are to be delivered in mid-2023.

Blaszczak said on Wednesday that Poland's military cooperation with South Korea was inspired by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and promised to strengthen the Polish armed forces. He added that the purchased Fa-50 fighters will replace Poland's fatigued post-Soviet MiG-29 aircraft.

"Today's framework contracts are only the first stage of our cooperation. We are convinced this cooperation is of advantage to both our countries, and that it will help strengthen the Polish army and provide openings for the Polish and South Korean arms industries," he said.

The contracts follow Blaszczak's arms purchase talks in South Korea in early June.