WARSAW, Poland —  Days after signing a major deal to purchase South Korean howitzers, Poland’s outgoing defense minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, has inked a contract to buy 152 Krab self-propelled howitzers from the country’s state-owned defense group PGZ in a deal worth about 10 billion zloty ($2.49 billion).

The 155mm artillery pieces will be supplied with accompanying vehicles, gear, as well as a training and logistics package, the ministry’s armament agency said in a statement.

The agency did not disclose the weapons’ delivery schedule, as the deal “represents the beginning of a multi-stage contracting process of further howitzers.”

On Dec. 4, Warsaw ordered six K9A1 and 146 K9PL howitzers from South Korea’s Hanwha Defense, concluding a deal with net value of some $2.6 billion.

Poland’s opposition parties won the country’s general election in October. Some politicians from the parties readying to form a new Cabinet later this month have criticized the defense ministry’s South Korean purchase, stating the order could be detrimental to the domestic manufacturing of the Krab. To produce the Krab’s chassis, PGZ’s subsidiary Huta Stalowa Wola bought a license from Hanwha Defense to obtain the technology used in the chassis of the company’s K9 Thunder howitzer.

On Dec. 7, Paweł Bejda, a lawmaker for the Polish People’s Party, one of the forces set to oust the ruling Law and Justice party, criticized the outgoing defense minister. “Błaszczak says, ‘The Polish defense industry is always the fist choice.’ But several days earlier, the same man, instead of ordering Krab howitzers from Huta Stalowa Wola, sent a further 13 billion zloty of Polish taxpayers’ money to South Korea for K9 howitzers,” Bejda said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Błaszczak’s remarks today could be considered as his defense of the Dec. 4 contract.

“In order not to waste time, we also cooperate with foreign suppliers” he said. “Cooperation with the Republic of Korea is also beneficial for the Polish defense industry. I am convinced that, in some years to come, a new version of the howitzer will be a joint Polish-Korean howitzer,” Błaszczak said, as quoted in a statement released by his ministry.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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