Poland is looking to purchase South Korean tanks and produce them directly in Poland, as the European country seeks to bolster economic times with their Asian partner and also beef up its military in the face of a growing Russian threat.
During his visit to South Korea, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak discussed his country purchasing the highly advanced K2 Black Panther tanks and made it clear he wants these tanks produced in Poland, according to a report from Polish news outlet Niezalezna.
The Korean tank model is considered one of the best in the world, with some military analysts even claiming it is the number one tank on the market. The tank is also known as the “most expensive in the world” as of 2021, with a price tag of $8.5 million. The K2 Black Panther comes with a number of notable features, such as their ability to float on water, that account for its higher cost. It is unclear what model of the tank Poland might receive, but earlier reports indicated that the country would likely obtain a derivative of the K2 Black Panther main battle tank.
Błaszczak is currently touring the country and was in the demilitarized zone on the border with North Korea on Wednesday. His visit to South Korea began on Sunday where he met his counterpart Lee Jong-Sup and representatives of the Korean arms industry.
According to the Polish Ministry of Defense, the minister said on his visit that Poland wanted to use South Korean capability to phase out post-Soviet equipment still being used by the Polish army, as the weaponry produced in South Korea is compatible with American equipment.
The Polish minister emphasized that Poland is developing its military capacity and making sure it is equipped with the most modern weaponry.
“We are buying U.S. Abrams tanks and also negotiating the purchase of Korean tanks. We want Korean tanks to be produced in Poland. We want to see a transfer of technology,” he stated.
Mariusz Błaszczak explained that this also involved replacing combat vehicles for the infantry as these dated back to the 1960s, the post-Soviet MIG-29 and SU-22 jets with modern aircraft and to increase the number of KRAB howitzers available to the Polish armed forces.
He said that now that Poland had ordered the Patriot and Himars systems, F-35 jets and Abrams tanks, it was now looking for more new equipment in South Korea and that his visit was just the beginning of the negotiation process.