Polish Army to be 300,000 strong says defence minister

Rafał Guz/PAP

Poland aims to increase the size of its army to 300,000 soldiers, the defence minister said on Monday.

On March 18, the Polish president signed a Homeland Defence bill aimed at modernising and expanding Poland's armed forces in reaction to the Russia-Ukraine war. Under the new law, Poland will also raise defence spending from the Nato-recommended minimum level of 2 percent of GDP to 3 percent.

"We will rearm the Polish Army, we will equip the Polish Army with the most modern equipment, the most modern weapons, but we will also increase the number of Polish Army troops," Mariusz Blaszczak, the defence minister told a conference.

"Our goal is for the Polish Army to reach the level of 300,000 troops, including 250,000 full-time soldiers or operational troops, and 50,000 soldiers of the territorial defence forces," he said.

Blaszczak added that Poland will receive its first Bayraktar TB2 combat drones from Turkey as well as Patriot missile batteries from the US this year and, next year, HIMARS missile launchers, with a range of up to 300 kilometres, will also be delivered from the US.

According to Blaszczak, Russia's war on Ukraine, beyond Poland's eastern border, has shown that the decision to modernise and expand the Polish armed forces was right.

"We were correct about this type of armament, and that the Polish Army must be more numerous than it has been so far," he said.

"These tasks can be implemented thanks to... the financial mechanisms contained in this (homeland defence) law," Blaszczak added.