US signs off on latest Polish military buy: $10 billion worth of HIMARS
Stars and Stripes February 8, 2023
Poland has a tentative green light from the U.S. to acquire another batch of high-mobility rocket systems, the latest development in a military buying spree intended to make the Poles the most powerful land force in Europe.
The State Department informed Congress on Tuesday that it supports Poland’s request to buy up to $10 billion worth of the in-demand HIMARS, which Ukraine has used to great effect against invading Russian troops.
Warsaw wants 18 launchers and an extensive array of supporting gear for the system.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the department said in a statement.
Over the past couple of years, Poland has invested heavily in upgrades to its military, and that push has only intensified since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
Poland sent Soviet-era tanks to bolster Ukraine in the ongoing war and will replace their inventory with American M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams tanks.
Additionally, Apache attack helicopters, Patriot missiles and F-35 fighter planes are becoming integral to Poland’s growing arsenal.
Earlier this week, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said his country’s aim is to establish a ground force of at least 300,000 soldiers.
“This will be the strongest land force in Europe, well-manned and equipped with modern weaponry, an active NATO force … which will also work together with the powerful U.S. forces stationed in Poland,” Blaszczak told the Polish magazine Sieci in an interview published Monday.
Blaszczak told the magazine the Polish army now stands at 164,000 soldiers, with a record 13,742 troops joining up last year alone.