WARSAW, Poland — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced his country is selling 155mm Krab self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine amid the country’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

“We are now signing one of the largest, if not the largest defense contracts for exports of the past 30 years,” Morawiecki said on June 7 during his visit to the plant of Polish defense company Huta Stalowa Wola, which makes the Krab. “This is a sale of weapons for Ukrainians … which will be very important weapons in the battlefield, most likely in Ukraine’s east.”

The arms are meant to strengthen Ukraine’s artillery forces by giving them the capability to strike targets at a distance of up to 40 km (25 miles), according to data from the manufacturer.

To make the Krab’s chassis, Huta Stalowa Wola bought a license for the technology used in the chassis of the K9 Thunder howitzer from South Korea’s Hanwha Defense.

The value of the contract and the number of the Krabs to be supplied to Ukraine was not officially disclosed. However, local daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported the deal covers about 60 howitzers and it is valued at some PLN 3 billion, or $700 million. The transaction marks Poland’s first export sale of the weapon.

Deliveries are expected to begin this year and be completed in 2023. To finance the purchase, Ukraine will use funds from its state budget, but also money it receives from the European Union, Morawiecki said.

Last month, Poland reportedly delivered a battalion of about 18 second-hand Krabs to Ukraine. The Polish government transferred these weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces as military aid.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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