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Friday, March 1, 2024

Poland buys 500 HIMARS rocket launchers for $4.6 billion

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Poland has signed a deal with Lockheed Martin to acquire nearly 500 HIMARS launchers, a high-mobility artillery rocket system that can fire missiles up to 300 kilometers. The deal, worth $4.6 billion, is part of Poland’s modernization program for its armed forces and its efforts to strengthen its defense capabilities against potential threats from Russia.

The HIMARS launchers will be tailored to fit on Polish-made Jelcz 6X6 trucks, which are designed for military use and can operate in various terrains. Lockheed Martin confirmed the framework agreement on its website, saying that it will work with the Polish government and industry partners to deliver the launchers and related equipment by 2028.

The HIMARS system is capable of launching multiple types of missiles, including the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). The system can also fire the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), a new long-range missile that is expected to replace the ATACMS in the future. The PrSM has a range of over 500 kilometers and can hit moving targets with high accuracy.

Poland is the first NATO ally to purchase the HIMARS system, which is also used by the US Army and Marine Corps, as well as by Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that the HIMARS deal will enhance Poland’s deterrence and defense capabilities, as well as its interoperability with other NATO forces. He also said that the deal will create jobs and boost the Polish defense industry, as some of the components and services will be provided by Polish companies.

The HIMARS deal is one of the largest arms contracts that Poland has signed in recent years, as it seeks to upgrade its military equipment and increase its spending on defense. Poland has also agreed to buy 32 F-35 fighter jets from the US for $4.6 billion, as well as Patriot air and missile defense systems for $4.75 billion. Poland is one of the few NATO members that meets the alliance’s target of spending 2% of its GDP on defense.

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