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Poland expects Korean FA-50 aircraft to arrive next year, K2 tanks this year

With the purchase of FA-50 combat aircraft from South Korea concluded, Poland’s Defence Ministry expects the fighter jets to touch down in Poland as early as next year.

Poland “cannot wait” for new aircraft, Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said explaining the need to buy the FA-50s. He added that the jets should arrive in Poland as early as next year, while 180 K2 tanks would arrive already this year.

Speaking to the Defence24.pl website, Minister Błaszczak, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, said the F-16’s producer, Lockheed Martin, was currently focused on producing the F-35, adding that he had spoken to Poland’s US partners many times on the subject.

Mr Błaszczak told the website the decision to buy equipment from South Korea was based on the hardware’s effectiveness, speed of delivery and benefits to the industry.

“The contract we managed to negotiate with the Koreans combines all these elements,” he said. “Other equipment producers were not in a position to deliver us arms of that quality in such a short time and with such broad cooperation with the Polish defence industry.”

“The contract for K2 tanks has been divided into two parts,” Mr Błaszczak said. “In the first batch, we will get 180 tanks; deliveries will start this year. The second stage is over 800 tanks of the K2PL standard, which will be produced in Poland by the Polish defence industry thanks to a transfer of technology we negotiated. Eventually, the tanks received in the first stage will also be Polonised and brought to the K2PL standard.”

Engineering support was also included in the tank deal, Mr Błaszczak stressed.

Poland’s defence minister went on to say that 48 K9 howitzers would arrive this year as part of another deal divided into stages, in order to mend a gap that opened as a result of the donation of howitzers to Ukraine.

Next we will order more than 600 howitzers, which will be produced in Poland to the K9PL standard,” Minister Błaszczak said.

“It’s worth noting that from the outset the K9 will be equipped with Polish communication systems and plugged into the Topaz combat management system. The transfer of technology concerning the FA-50 enables us to create a service centre in Poland. We negotiated the contract in cooperation with [Polish defence group] PGZ in order for Polish industry to make use of the opportunity to the maximum.”

Mr Błaszczak said the decision to buy three squadrons of the FA-50 was based on recommendations from Polish military pilots and their lightness and multi-functionality. He went on to stress that the aircraft was based on the F-16 technology, so the infrastructure Poland already has can be adapted seamlessly. He added that the FA-50 is an ideal aircraft to train pilots to fly the F-16 and that they would need just a few hours to adapt to the latter.


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