US to provide Poland with Apache helicopters says defence minister
The US will provide Poland with eight Apache helicopters until Poland receives those which it has ordered, said Poland’s defence minister on Friday after a meeting with the US defence secretary in Washngton, D.C. on Friday.
Mariusz Błaszczak said during a press briefing after his meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin that the US would provide the eight helicopters even before a contract for Poland's purchase of 96 helicopters was signed. The helicopters would be used to strengthen the so-called Brest gate (southwest Belarus on the Polish border).
He also pointed out that US ground forces would begin the training of Polish pilots within a few weeks and that the Apaches were important because "they work very well with Abrams (tanks – PAP) and because they will be sent to the eastern flank of Nato" where they would constitute an "impenetrable dam."
Last year, Poland expressed its desire to obtain 96 AH-64 Apache helicopter, but the purchase must still be approved by the US Congress and the Department of State.
Błaszczak noted that he had signed an agreement on reciprocity in defence procurement during his meeting with Austin. At the beginning of the meeting, Austin said that he hoped the agreement between the US and Poland would deepen industrial cooperation between the two countries "now and in the future".
According to Błaszczak, the purchase of almost 500 HIMARS rocket artillery launchers by Poland was also an opportunity for the Polish defence industry as talks were also being held about the production of components for them in Poland.