Shown above are FA-50 light attack fighters, which would be exported to Poland. Photo courtesy of KAI

Tanks, howitzers, fighter jets will be purchased

Poland signed on July 27 to purchase South Korean weapons, including K2 battle tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers, and FA-50 light attack fighters.

Under the contract, the European country will purchase 980 K2 battle tanks from Hyundai Rotem, 648 K9 howitzers from Hanwha Defense, and FA-50 light attack fighters from the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

The first-batch contract is estimated to be around 10 trillion won ($7.6 billion). Over the next 10 years, two more deals would be signed for total values of 25 trillion won ($19 billion).

The mega-sized contract came amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Delivering its weapons to Ukraine, Poland has tried to replenish its weapons system.

Up to 180 K2 tanks will be delivered to Poland beginning this year. The remaining 800 units will be built in Poland. Contracts for K9 howitzers and FA-50 light attack fighters are similar.

From the side of the KAI, this marks the largest export of the FA-50. The company is scheduled to set up a center in Poland to ensure the stable operation of its fighter jets.

The outfit will also run an education facility to train pilots there.

The deals were signed months after the defense ministers of the two countries met.

In June, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol had a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda to discuss military cooperation on the sidelines of a NATO summit.

Experts pointed out that our exporters would have to check the commercial viability of the sales.

“These are mega-sized long-term deals, which are very good for the country. But we are required to check on whether they would be profitable,” Prof. Kim Jong-dae at Yonsei University said.

“In particular, we would have to let Poland build tanks, fighter jets, and howitzers in the European country. That might turn out to be very expensive.”