Poland to sign rocket artillery deal with US on Wednesday

2019-02-10, 20:15 update: 2019-02-12, 19:30
Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
An agreement on the purchase of a division of HIMARS self-propelled rocket artillery will be signed on Wednesday, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced on Sunday. The price for 20 launchers with ammunition is USD 414 million.

The equipment will be purchased within the framework of the Homar programme. 

"On Wednesday we will sign an agreement with the United States government concerning the delivery to the Polish Armed Forces of a HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System - PAP) division; a division which significantly increases the combat capacity of the Polish Armed Forces," Minister Błaszczak stated during a visit to the First Warsaw Armoured Brigade. 

He stressed that this is a modern weapon, tested in combat conditions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and used by the US and other NATO members including Romania. He added that "it is equipment which gives a guarantee of effectiveness on the battle field," and which acts as a real deterrent to potential enemies. 

"Security has no price, one of the priorities of the Mateusz Morawiecki government is security, but I would like to ensure that the transaction concerns the purchase of modern equipment, but for a good price," the defence minister commented, adding that the price Poland will pay for the equipment is "at least equivalent, if not a better price than our allies in Romania paid."

The defence minister highlighted other weapons deals concluded in the last year, including for the Patriot air defence system, mortars, drones, Black Hawk helicopters for the special forces, trucks and Vis pistols. "The tender for the purchase of helicopters for the navy is also well on the way," the minister added. 

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki underscored the importance of a strong army for Poland's geopolitical position.

"A strong Polish Army is an essential element in building a strong Republic in order to not repeat its bad past and to win our future," PM Morawiecki stated. 

The prime minister pointed out that "a modern Polish army is in Poland's national interests." 

"We are well on the way to building potential, which increases the political possibilities, the geopolitical and economic possibilities of the Republic of Poland, because building a strong army also translates hugely into the importance of Poland in Europe and the world," the PM asserted.  

Mateusz Morawiecki highlighted Poland's artillery traditions and underlined that the country is fulfilling its NATO obligations and is "an ever more important pillar of the alliance's eastern flank."

The Homar long-range missile artillery system is one of the priorities of the plan to modernise the Polish armed forces. The requirement for this type of weapon is estimated at 160 launchers. (PAP)