WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s outgoing National Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has signed what is likely the last major weapon acquisition contract inked before the nation’s forthcoming change in government, ordering some 152 self-propelled howitzers from South Korea’s Hanwha Defense.
Under the deal, Poland’s Army will receive six K9A1 and 146 K9PL howitzers in the years 2025 to 2027. The contract has a net value of some $2.6 billion, the Polish Armed Forces said in a statement.
“The deal also includes a training and logistics package, and the delivery of a substantial stockpile of 155mm ammunition, comprising several tens of thousands of units,” the statement said.
To enable the future production of K9PL howitzers in Poland, Hanwha Defense has signed an agreement with the country’s state-run defense group PGZ.
Last October, Poland’s opposition won the country’s general election. Since then, a coalition of center-right, liberal and left-wing parties has taken over control in the parliament. A new Cabinet is expected to be sworn in by the end of the year, replacing rule by the right-wing Law and Justice party that implemented an unprecedented spending spree on defense gear in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, some politicians from the parties that are readying to form the new government are criticizing the ministry’s latest move.
Paweł Bejda, a lawmaker for the Polish People’s Party, stated the acquisition could be detrimental to the domestic production of the Krab, a self-propelled howitzer manufactured by PGZ. To make the Krab’s chassis, PGZ’s subsidiary Huta Stalowa Wola purchased a license for the technology used in the chassis of the K9 Thunder howitzer from Hanwha Defense.
“All the deals whose implementation will be the responsibility of the new government should be signed by that government,” Bejda said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.