Poland continues to exclude European offers from its arms contracts

Since the cancellation of the Caracal helicopter contract announced in 2016 to turn to American-made helicopters, Warsaw has shown a very clear preference for American equipment, with the order of 2 anti-aircraft and anti-missile batteries Patriot PAC3 in 2018, from 20 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, 185 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 32 F-35A fighter bombers in 2019, and more recently 250 M1A2 Abrams heavy tanks in 2021. In many cases, equivalent or even superior European-made equipment was offered (Rafale/Typhoon/Gripen aircraft, MMP/EuroSpike missiles, SAMP/T Mamba system and Leopard 2A7 tanks), without their being able to impose themselves on the offers Americans. However, the latest Polish arbitrations seem to indicate that beyond the pro-American tropism already largely highlighted in recent years, the Polish authorities are also conducting an openly hostile defense equipment strategy vis-à-vis its partners in the 'European Union.

Thus, a few weeks ago, Warsaw announced the order for 3 frigates based on the Arrowhead 140 model from the British company Babcock, a €2 billion contract under the Miecznik program (Swordfish), to the detriment of the German offer of TKMS and its frigate Meko 300, after the Spanish Navantia was excluded from the competition. A few days ago, Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak announced his intention to order 6 new Patriot PAC 3 anti-missile batteries as well as 500 Himars multiple launch rocket systems from the United States. Finally, on Monday May 30, Mariusz Błaszczak announced the signing of a cooperation agreement with his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-Sup, in order to acquire new Krab self-propelled artillery systems, as well as a vehicle model of South Korean infantry combat to replace Polish IFVs dating from the Warsaw Pact, without it being specified whether it was the 21-ton K-25 or the 21-ton AS-42 Redback, the latter being currently in competition in Australia against … the KF-41 Lynx of the German Rheinmetall.

Poland plans to acquire South Korean K-21 or AS-21 Redback IFVs (here in illustration)

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