1000 heavy tanks, 672 self-propelled guns, at least 50 combat aircraft, and several hundred multiple rocket launchers... These are the extraordinary numbers surrounding the defense partnership that Poland and South Korea are about to sign, to make South Korea one of the world leaders in the armored vehicle market, and Poland the European pillar of production of this type of vehicle in the years to come. Indeed, beyond the spectacular reinforcement of the capacities of the Polish armies, which at the end of the decade will field 1500 modern tanks, as many infantry combat vehicles, 1200 mobile artillery systems and several thousand light armored vehicles, i.e. more that the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch and Belgian forces together, this new cooperation will allow Warsaw to acquire a cutting-edge industry in this field, capable of mass-producing armaments co-developed with Seoul and offering performances and the most attractive prices, in a strategy based on 3 successive stages which seems to have been perfectly thought out.
The first stage of this ambitious partnership aims to begin the conversion of the Polish armies to South Korean armaments. Thus, Warsaw will order 180 K2 Black Panther tanks assembled in South Korea and which will be delivered by 2025 to replace the T-72 and PT-91 transferred to Ukraine. Similarly, 48 new AHS Krab self-propelled guns will be assembled by 2024, while Warsaw will arbitrate in the coming months as to how many American HIMARS and K239 Chunmoo long-range rocket systems will be ordered, knowing that a total of 500 systems of this type will have to arm the Polish brigades. Finally, in order to replace its Mig-29 and Su-22, Poland will order 48 FA-50 Golden Dragon light fighters in their Block 20 version (Block 10 for the first 12 aircraft which could be delivered this year), equipped with an AESA radar, the Sniper designation pod and the AIM-9X sidewinder air-air missile. From 2025, the devices will be upgraded to a new standard including the AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missile.
The second phase will start from 2024, and will be based on the rise of the Polish defense industry. Thus, a new factory will make it possible to assemble some 820 K-2PL heavy tanks, an evolution of the South Korean K2 Black Panther integrating in particular reinforced armor, new generation multi-directional Vetronics and a hard-kill active protection system, as well as than 624 K-9PL artillery systems based on the K9A2 version of the Thunder. Polish production will begin in 2026, with the first batches of vehicles being produced in South Korea. This phase could also see the construction of AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicles in order to equip the units implementing the American Abrams, while the VCI Borzuk of local design and manufacture will be intended to operate in contact with K-2PL . In addition, during this phase, the 180 K2s initially ordered will be upgraded to the K-2PL standard.
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