Poland’s government signed a contract with the Republic of Korea on July 27 to buy FA-50 fighter/attack aircraft from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). Valued at around $2.5 billion, the contract is part of a wider $14.5 billion arms deal with South Korea that includes the procurement of K2 self-propelled howitzers and K9 main battle tanks. Poland is buying 48 FA-50s to equip three squadrons, with the first 12 due to be delivered by the middle of next year.

It is KAI's ability to deliver the aircraft quickly that has been the decisive factor in Poland choosing the FA-50, said Mariusz Blaszczak, deputy prime minister and minister of defence, in an interview with Polish media. The procurement has become urgent in the light of the Ukraine conflict, and an increasing need to replace the last of the MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters in Polish air force service, and Lockheed Martin would not be able to supply Poland with additional F-16s in the required timeframe. It was noted that Polish F-16s are currently policing the airspace of neighbouring Slovakia while that nation awaits deliveries of its own F-16s.

Poland Buys K2-Panther Main Battle Tanks

Poland is buying almost 1,000 tanks, more than 600 pieces of artillery and dozens of fighter jets from South Korea, in part to replace equipment donated to Ukraine to help Kyiv fight the Russian invasion, the Polish Ministry of Defence said.

The first howitzers and tanks are scheduled to arrive at the end of 2022 while the planes are expected to be delivered next year, the defence minister said.

Poland, a NATO member bordering Ukraine, is shoring up its defences in a bid to counter a possible threat from Russia.