Poland buys a huge amount of Korean weapons because of Ukraine

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Warsaw makes up for the shortage in Asia caused by deliveries to Kyiv

Poland, which sent a lot of weapons to Ukraine, decided to buy hundreds of South Korean tanks and howitzers. True, not all experts find the idea of ​​buying weapons from Asian suppliers brilliant.

Photo: en.wikipedia.orgPoland is buying nearly a thousand tanks, more than 600 artillery pieces and dozens of fighter jets from South Korea, in part to replace equipment donated to Ukraine to help Kyiv counter Russian forces, Poland's defense ministry told CNN on Tuesday.

The agreement , according to CNN, provides for the purchase by Warsaw of 980 tanks based on the South Korean K2 model, 648 self-propelled armored howitzers K9 and 48 FA-50 fighters, the Polish Ministry of Defense said, without disclosing the cost of the deal.

The first 180 Hyundai Rotem K2 tanks equipped with self-loading 120mm guns are expected to arrive this year, while production of 800 upgraded tanks will begin in 2026 in Poland, according to the Ministry of Defense.

The first 48 are expected Hanwha Defense's K9 howitzers will also arrive this year, with a second batch of 600 due to begin in 2024. From 2025, they will be produced in Poland, the ministry said.

The ministry said that these armored personnel carriers will partially replace the Soviet tanks that Poland transferred to Ukraine for use in the fight against Russia.

CNN's defense ministry comments come after Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak posted on social media on July 22 that the deal would “significantly increase the security of Poland and the strength of the Polish army.”

CNN turned to the administration of the defense procurement program for comment South Korea and participating arms manufacturers.

Chung In-beom, a retired South Korean general, said the deal with Poland was Seoul's largest arms export deal ever.

Leif-Erik Isley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Women's University in Seoul, says the arms deal has its roots in the administration of former President Moon Jae-in, who sought major foreign contracts to develop South Korea's defense industry. According to Isley , Moon's successor, President Yoon Seok-yeol, who took office in May, also wants to promote such exports.

But the conflict in Ukraine “raises the geopolitical stakes” for Seoul, the expert believes.

A lucrative arms deal with Poland, a NATO member, means that South Korea will have to share the “burden of protecting the international order,” Easley said. “Washington and NATO expect Seoul to increase aid to Ukraine and maintain sanctions against Russia, even if it costs the South Korean economy dearly,” — Easley said.

Since joining NATO in 1999, Poland has become a key member of the 30-member North Atlantic Alliance and has been purchasing US-made military equipment, including Abrams main battle tanks and F-35 stealth fighters.

Poland also became a major supporter of the Kyiv government after the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict, making deals to send more than 200 tanks and self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine.

During a visit to Seoul in May, Poland's defense minister said events in Ukraine showed Poland's urgent need for South Korean weapons. He said that South Korea and Poland faced similar security situations and therefore needed the same weapons.

However, some defense industry analysts question whether South Korean weapons are suitable for European countries.

< p>Nicholas Drummond, a defense industry analyst specializing in ground combat and a former British Army officer, believes that the K2 tank is essentially a less powerful version of the German Leopard 2 main battle tank: “Same gun. Same engine and gearbox. But in general, less perfect with poor electronic architecture… Not a bad tank.

Drummond also said that equipment made in Asia could end up with supply chain problems in the event of an armed conflict in Europe.

FA-50 jet aircraft, produced by Korea Aerospace Industries in conjunction with US defense giant Lockheed Martin, is a supersonic light combat aircraft suitable for ground attack and some air-to-air strikes.

The aircraft, operated by the South Korean Air Force since 2013, is armed with missiles of the "air-to-air" Sidewinder, air-to-ground missiles Maverick and a triple-barreled 30mm cannon. It can also use precision bombs and gravity bombs.

The FA-50, in combat and training versions, has found export customers in Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Thailand. But with an order for 48 aircraft, Poland will become the largest aircraft operator outside of South Korea.

Источник www.mk.ru

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