Poland to buy hundreds of South Korean tanks, howitzers after sending arms to Ukraine

By Brad Lendon, Yoonjung Seo and Joseph Ataman CNN

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – Poland is buying almost 1,000 tanks, more than 600 pieces of artillery and dozens of fighter jets from South Korea, in part to replace equipment donated to Ukraine to help Kyiv fight the Russian invasion, the Polish Ministry of Defense told CNN on Tuesday.

The agreement, expected to be officially announced in Poland on Wednesday, will see Warsaw purchase 980 tanks based on the South Korean K2 model, 648 self-propelled K9 armored howitzers, and 48 FA-50 fighter jets, the ministry said. It would not confirm the value of the deal.

The first 180 K2 tanks, made by Hyundai Rotem and equipped with auto-loading 120mm guns, are expected to arrive this year, with the production of 800 upgraded tanks starting in 2026 in Poland, according to the ministry.

The first 48 K9 howitzers, made by Hanwha Defense, are also expected to arrive this year, with delivery of a second batch of 600 due to start in 2024. From 2025 these will be produced in Poland, the ministry said.

The ministry said these armored vehicles would, in part, replace the Soviet-era tanks that Poland has donated to Ukraine to use in its fight against Russia.

The ministry’s comments to CNN come after Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak tweeted on July 22 that the deal would “significantly increase Poland’s security and the strength of the Polish Army.”
CNN has reached out to the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the arms manufacturers involved for comment.

Chun In-Bum, a retired South Korean general, said the deal with Poland is Seoul’s single biggest weapons export pact ever.

He also praised the weapons involved.
“The K9 (howitzer)… is probably the best artillery system in the world, rivaled only by the German system. The FA-50 is a combat version of the T-50, which has gained a reputation for being the best trainer in the world inventory. The K2 tank in its latest version will be better than anything South Korea has to date,” Chun said.

A South Korean K2 tank takes part in a live-fire demonstration in 2018.

Related Articles

Back to top button