The Polish armed forces have welcomed the first 10 K2 tanks and 24 K9 self-propelled howitzers from South Korea as they were unloaded at the Port of Gdynia.
Poland received the first vehicles after signing a framework agreement in July this year for the acquisition of a total of 1,000 K2 tanks and their Polonized K2PL development version, as well as up to 672 K9A1 self-propelled howitzers and their Polonized K9PL variant.
The first official contract under the contract agreement, that covered the first 180 K2 tanks and 212 K9 howitzers, was signed August this year, with deliveries scheduled between 2022 and 2026.
South Korea’s Hanwha Defense prepared Poland’s initial batch of K9 Thunder SPHs, while Hyundai Rotem did the same with K2 tanks in October this year.
“This is an important day in the history of the Polish Army. It is an important event that strengthens the strength of the Polish Army. Both K2 tanks and K9 howitzers are among the most modern weapons. Therefore, this equipment gives the Polish Army a tool for effectively deterring the aggressor,” said Polish defense minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
The 155mm/52-caliber K9 Thunder is a tracked self-propelled gun with over 1,700 units in service with nine countries. The system is capable of firing ammunition within 30 seconds of receiving a shooting command. It can fire up to 3 shots within 15 seconds and 18 consecutive shots for 3 minutes.
The K2 has been in South Korean army service since 2008 and is currently being evaluated by Egypt and Norway, after both countries earlier bought South Korean K9 self-propelled howitzers.
K2 has a 120mm smoothbore cannon with an autoloader. Auxiliary armament includes a 7.62 mm machine gun and a 12.7 mm large-caliber machine gun.
In addition to tanks and howitzers, Poland is also buying Hanwha Defense-developed K239 Chunmoo multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) as well as FA-50 light combat aircraft.
“I emphasize that this is the first batch of equipment that will be delivered to Poland on the basis of compact contracts. Soldiers are already training in the use of this equipment in South Korea, so they already have the appropriate knowledge to get into everything that is related to the operation of this equipment,” Błaszczak added.
“Our agreement also applies to the logistics package and the training package. In our cooperation, we ordered ammunition for this weapon, so I can say that we are ready to consistently strengthen the Polish armed forces. I want to assure everyone that we will not stop on this road, the purpose of which is to strengthen the Polish Army and ensure the security of our homeland.”