Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has signed an agreement to purchase 300 K239 rocket launchers from South Korea. This had been expected, as had been Błaszczak’s visit to South Korea to complete the purchase, but that visit did not come to fruition, the reasons for which are not yet clear.
After signing the agreement for purchasing the rocket launchers, Błaszczak said that the war in Ukraine has proved the importance of air defense systems, especially rocket artillery. The Chumnoo batteries will significantly increase Poland’s artillery capability. The system, which will use Polish vehicles and Polish communication and combat planning systems, should be ready for use next year.
The launchers will be used on the eastern flank of NATO and form an essential part of the deterrent against Russian aggression.
Minister Błaszczak was meant to fly to South Korea on Monday to head the Polish delegation, but the trip was canceled at the last minute and Polish diplomats in Seoul had to take over. This was, according to the Polish defense ministry, “a result of a technical problem with the plane” taking Błaszczak to Korea.
However, Korean media have reported that Błaszczak’s visit could not take place because the Chinese had refused the use of their air space for the Polish delegation to reach Seoul. The route available via Chinese air space was the only viable one for the minister to use. Any other route would have involved a journey that would have been too long for the Polish government plane to handle.