Assembly of the Polish version of the Chunmoo multiple rocket launcher has begun

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A few days ago, visiting the Lockheed-Martin factory in Camden, Arkansas, which assembles the HIMARS system, the Polish Defense Minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, had indicated that the potential order by Warsaw of 500 American rocket launcher systems remained under discussion, even though for several months and the announcement in October 2022 of Warsaw's order for 300 South Korean K239 Chunmoo systems, it seemed that the order of Polish HIMARS should be reduced to 200 copies. This statement has, in fact, created some questioning about the future of the Chunmoo command, which could seem threatening.

A priori, there is nothing. Indeed, the Polish Armaments Agency announced, on social networks, that 3 P882 8×8 trucks from the Polish manufacturer Jelcz, had been received in South Korea to receive the Chunmoo system and be tested there. Obviously, this configuration will be at the heart of the long-range artillery system co-developed by Warsaw and Seoul, which tends to confirm that the HOMAR-K. According to the Polish authorities, the 218 copies of the order signed on February 22, 2023, will thus be assembled in South Korea on Polish P882 trucks, before being sent back to Poland to receive the complementary systems, in particular the Topaz ballistic calculation system developed by WB Electronics which equips all Polish artillery systems.

P882 Poland Chunmoo Construction of armored vehicles | Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders | South Korea
Photo released by the Polish Armaments Agency showing the P882 trucks arriving in South Korea.

According to the Polish site, in a second step, the Polish authorities intend to obtain from Hanwha Aerospace, the local production of the rockets and ballistic missiles which arm the system, as well as the production and assembly of the systems themselves. Considering the ongoing developments between Warsaw and Seoul around the K2 Black tank Panther, the K-9 Thunder artillery system and overtures made about the K-21 Boramae, we can actually expect Poland to succeed relatively quickly in this area, even if Romania, too, seems to be in the running to produce the K239 in Europe.

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It remains to be seen how Warsaw intends to simultaneously lead the production of Chunmoo and negotiations with Lockheed-Martin for local production of HIMARS systems. While it may indeed seem reasonable to run several hares at the same time, the risk today is for the Polish authorities of having to respect its commitments simultaneously vis-à-vis two strategic partners, each mastering the extensive areas of their cooperation with Poland. Unlike the H225M Caracal helicopters canceled by Warsaw in 2015 when Poland and France were not engaged in other significant strategic cooperation, it would probably be much riskier for the Polish authorities to turn their backs on Seoul or Washington over of a program worth several billion euros, knowing that other equally critical programs are also at stake. To be continued...

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