On Tuesday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the US State Department had approved the sale of 484 HIMARS rocket launchers to Poland, including 18 in the US version and 468 to be placed on Polish vehicles. The value of the potential contract has been estimated at close to USD 10 billion.
The American launchers, which Washington handed to Kyiv in 2022, have confirmed their deadly efficiency in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Mateusz Kurzejewski, head of the Polish Defence Ministry's Operation Centre, told PAP on Wednesday that the approval was for the exact number that Poland had asked for last year. Eighteen launchers will be fitted on US-made Oshkosh trucks, the same ones used by the US army, whereas the rest of them will use Poland's Jelcz trucks as part of the country's drive to include a domestic component in foreign military purchases.
The State Department's approval also concerns rockets of varying caliber with ranges of up to 300 kilometres as well as IT and communications equipment, training, and support of the system's integration into the Polish Armed Forces.
As soon as the US Congress gives the final approval to the sale, "we'll get down to negotiations," Kurzejewski said, adding that the amount mentioned by DSCA was the maximum sum with which the US would like to start talks.
Last May, Poland requested the United States to prepare an offer for close to 500 HIMARS sets. Considering the time required to manufacture the weaponry, Poland also ordered 218 K239 Chunmoo launchers from South Korea last year.
In 2019, the country bought 20 sets, including 18 battle-ready launchers and two training ones, for USD 414 million, and they are to be delivered this year.
HIMARS launchers are manufactured by the US weapons producer Lockheed Martin. (PAP)