Poland receives first consignment of Korean tanks, howitzers

The Polish president added that the rapid delivery of the hardware was needed given what was happening in Ukraine. Adam Warżawa/PAP

Poland has taken delivery of the first of hundreds of main battle tanks and howitzers from South Korea.

Ten K2 tanks and 24 K9 self-propelled howitzers were unloaded at the port city of Gdynia in the presence of Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, and Mariusz Blaszczak, the defence minister.

Speaking at the unloading ceremony, Duda drew attention to the speed with which the weapons had been delivered, saying that a law on homeland defence had been adopted in the spring and a contract for the equipment signed in the summer.

"And now the process of modernising and strengthening the Polish army is physically occurring, not only through procurements but above all by the delivery from South Korea of K2 tanks and K9 howitzers for the Polish Army," Duda said.

"The first 10 tanks have just arrived in our country, here in Gdynia," the president said. "In a moment they will go to military units where they will undergo the final process of preparation and implementation for their use by our armed forces."

The president added that the rapid delivery of the hardware was needed given what was happening in Ukraine.

"For months, since February 24, since Russia invaded Ukraine, we have all clearly seen one thing - that only the heroism of a soldier equipped with modern, effective weaponry is in a position to halt Russian imperial ambition and Russian brutality," he said.

"To prevent aggression, to halt the enemy, the possession of this equipment by the army is necessary," Duda continued. "Today this weaponry, super-modern for the Polish Army, to equip Polish soldiers, has become a fact, it has become part of the equipment of the Polish Armed Forces."

Speaking at the ceremony, Blaszczak said: "We want peace, that's why we're preparing for war. We are increasing the size of the Polish Army but also strengthening it by equipping it with modern weapons. Both the K2 tanks and the K9 howitzers are among the most modern equipment. They give the Polish Army the tools to effectively deter an aggressor."

In July, a contract was signed with Hyundai Rotem for a total of 1,000 K2 tanks and the Polonised K2PL version of the tank along with support vehicles, a training and logistics package, spare ammunition and technical support.

A framework agreement was also signed with Hanwa Defense for 672 K9A1 self-propelled howitzers and the Polonised K9PL version, also with support vehicles, training and logistics, ammunition and technical support.

In late August, an executive contract was signed for the delivery of 180 K2 tanks between 2022 and 2025, and 212 K9 self-propelled gun-howitzers with delivery foreseen in 2022-2026.

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.