President for modernisation of Polish arms industry

2019-09-03 19:44 update: 2019-09-07, 13:24
President Andrzej Duda Photo PAP/Rafał Guz
President Andrzej Duda Photo PAP/Rafał Guz
President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday told exhibitors at the 27th International Defence Industry Exhibition in Kielce, south Poland, that he would like to see a modern and innovative national defence industry.

Duda said it was important to employ innovative solutions in the defence segment as it was Poland's ambition to ensure its own safety and that of its region in the best way possible. 

"I would like our arms industry to be as up to date as possible. I want us to be innovative in this area. Why? Because we are an ambitious country, because we want (...) to ensure the safety of our country, our soldiers and our part of Europe (...) as perfectly as we can," Duda told the participants in Poland's biggest defence industry fair.

Duda stressed that the 2019 Defence Salon's over 600 exhibitors made it "a major military and commercial event," and voiced his satisfaction over the broad presence of US arms producers at the fair. Duda said the US offer was especially important for Poland owing to its plans to purchase US military equipment.

He added that he would like the Polish arms industry to turn out similar-quality products, but admitted that this will not happen quickly as it needed in-depth research and vast funding.

Duda especially thanked US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher, who was also present at the fair, for her role in establishing commercial ties between Poland's major arms producer Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) and US defence giants like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Mosbacher herself observed that competition between the super-powers was again on the rise today, and in this context pointed to China's and Russia's "revisionist course." She also reminded that NATO was founded not just on common values, but also common security interests.

Mosbacher praised Poland's role in NATO, and stressed that by raising its defence budget to the NATO-required 2 percent GDP Warsaw had proven itself a leading member of the alliance. She also commended Poland for modernising its armed forces and stressed that only last year the Polish government had purchased US-made Patriot air defence missiles and the HIMARS missile defence system. 

Mosbacher also mentioned the stationing of US forces in Poland, and reminded that in June the US and Polish presidents had agreed on their enlargement.

In a letter to the fair's participants, PM Mateusz Morawiecki stressed the importance of exports for the growth of the defence industry, and remarked that the Kielce fair was a good promoter of Polish military technology.

"Export promotion is a crucial element in defence policy. The International Defence Industry Salon in Kielce fulfills this aim as it is a presentation of Polish military technology. Over nearly three decades, this fair has become a recognisable, eye-drawing and respected trademark. Today Kielce is Poland's defence industry capital and the event has gathered several hundred manufacturers from all over the world, who are presenting state-of-the-art weaponry and military equipment," Morawiecki wrote.

Addressing the fair's participants, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said security was a priority for the Polish government. Commenting on the ongoing modernisation of the Polish armed forces, Blaszczak said it was made possible by the country's rapid economic growth. Blaszczak added that Poland planned to spend PLN 185 billion (EUR 42.4 billion) on military upgrades until 2026 in the biggest military modernisation programme in its history.

The 27th International Defence Industry Exhibition in Kielce, organised under the honorary patronage of President Andrzej Duda, started on Tuesday and will continue until Friday. An open day is planned on Saturday. The exhibition brings together over 600 exhibitors from 31 countries, including 65 companies from the US. 

The fair will be visited by 40 foreign delegations. Accompanying the event are conferences, seminars and meetings of defence industry representatives.

The exhibition premises consist of seven halls, also featured is a logistics fair. The Open Day will enable visitors to view weapons and equipment used by the Polish army. US troops will take part in the Open Day event for the first time. 

In 2018, the International Defence Industry Exhibition and Open Day in Kielce were visited by over 34,000 people. (PAP)

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