Written by Immacolata Ciotta
On May 26, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced that he had begun the process of acquiring 500 U.S.-made long-range weapon systems, known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), to crown the military modernization program. Lieutenant Colonel Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the Armaments Agency, added that the technology transfer will be for an internal Polish effort known as HOMAR.
Although Poland’s desire for HIMARS was now obvious, Błaszczak’s statement was the beginning of a formal declaration of interest by Warsaw.
However, Poland had announced and reaffirmed its commitment to the Wisła Phase 2 program. In 2023, negotiations for a combined foreign military sales agreement for Patriot equipment are expected to be concluded. Specifically, in Wisła Phase 2, industrial cooperation will continue, and Polish industry will be responsible for the production and delivery of the M903 launcher, PAC-3 MSE rocket components, and logistical security components of the Patriot/IBCS system. Delivery of the first two batteries of the Wisła Phase 2 is expected to take place in 2026, with completion of deliveries scheduled for 2028.
Increased public defence spending in Poland is occurring in the same way as the invasion of Ukraine. According to Defense Minister Błaszczak, the Polish military must be able to deter possible enemies based on its defensive potential and national defence. This upgrade should take place through the release of a new final document, known as Model 2035, which will require sustainable development in all domains: land, air, sea, cyber, space, and active expansion of territorial defence forces.
However, the sustainability of this huge expenditure raises quite a few questions. For example, it is useful to look at the data: in recent years Warsaw has decided to purchase many U.S. weapons – Patriot (for more than 80 billion zloty), HIMARS (for more than 60 billion zloty), M1A2 tanks (for more than 21 billion zloty) and F-35 multi-role fighters for about 20 billion zloty.
In this regard, Minister Błaszczak addressed the issue by referring to the National Defense Law (which will allow the defence budget to be increased to 3 percent of GDP) as a solution for increased funding. In addition, an agreement was signed this month between the defence mystery and Bard Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) aimed at creating a National Armed Forces Support Fund. This facility will also allow the use of other sources, such as revenues from tax bonds, payments or donations, or funds from the budget transferred by the Minister of National Defence. Despite the financial guarantees posed the being, the question remains about the actual development of the capability, given the long history of unrealized programs in Poland. Here, too, Minister Błaszczak addressed the problem, proposing recent reforms to the Polish military’s acquisition system as a solution.
Breaking Defense. June 6 2022. Poland moves to buy HIMARS, capping major May modernization push. https://breakingdefense.com/2022/06/poland-moves-to-buy-himars-capping-major-may-modernization-push/