Mariusz Błaszczak said the Polish-made Piorun (Thunderbolt) man-portable systems had been battle-tested in the Ukraine war, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Błaszczak, who is also defence minister, told reporters: “The Polish authorities are learning the lessons from the war that is taking place beyond our eastern border, and so we are boosting the Polish armed forces, equipping them with modern hardware.”
He added: “We have decided to update the 2016 contract and increase the order for the Piorun systems. Polish soldiers will receive some of them later this year.”
‘We are strengthening Polish armed forces’
Błaszczak said the decision to order more air defence systems had been taken by the government in consultation with President Andrzej Duda.
“We are strengthening the Polish armed forces step by step,” Błaszczak added. “This is needed so that the Kremlin, the evil empire that is reemerging before our eyes, doesn’t dare attack Poland and other NATO countries."
3,500 missiles, 600 launch mechanisms
The original 2016 order was for 1,300 missiles and 420 launch mechanisms, to be delivered by 2022.
The new order is for a further 3,500 missiles and 600 launch mechanisms, to be delivered over the next few years, starting in 2022, officials told reporters.
In February, the Polish government authorised sending a batch of Piorun systems to Ukraine as part of security assistance to the southeastern neighbour.
Meanwhile, the United States has ordered several hundred Piorun systems. Błaszczak told reporters on Thursday that more NATO allies were interested in the equipment.
The Piorun is designed to destroy low-flying aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The systems are produced by the state-run Polish Armaments Group (PGZ).
Thursday was day 120 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, wojsko-polskie.pl