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Poland gets two more HIMARS launchers, Patriot parts: defence minister

25.05.2023 14:30
Poland has received two more HIMARS rocket artillery launchers and further components of the Patriot air defence system as it seeks to bolster its army amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish defence minister has said.
Polands Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Mariusz Błaszczak made the announcement via Twitter on Wednesday evening, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The defence minister wrote: “Two more M142 HIMARS launchers and further components of the Patriot/IBCS system have reached Poland. These deliveries are being made as part of the Homar and Wisła programmes, designed to significantly strengthen Polish rocket artillery and air defence.”

Last week, Błaszczak announced that Poland received the first batch of five HIMARS rocket artillery launchers from the United States to strengthen its army amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the PAP news agency reported at the time.

In February 2019, Poland's government signed a deal to buy 20 HIMARS artillery rocket systems from America for USD 414 million as part of a military modernisation drive.

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System "is a full-spectrum, combat-proven, all-weather, 24/7, lethal and responsive, wheeled precision strike weapons system," according to the US Army. 

It can fire GMLRS rockets at a range of over 70 kilometres and ATACMS missiles at a range of up to 300 kilometres, according to officials. 

Earlier this year, the US Congress cleared the sale of nearly 500 HIMARS artillery rocket systems to Poland, according to an announcement at the time.

The Patriot is a US-made medium-range, surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile system, the PAP news agency reported.

By the end of the year, Poland’s army is expected to have two Patriot batteries at its disposal, amounting to a total of 16 launchers, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

Poland has duty to protect eastern-flank NATO airspace: defence minister 

Meanwhile, the Polish defence minister emphasised this week that his country has a duty to protect not only its own airspace, but also that of other countries on the eastern flank of NATO, according to a report.

“Poland is a country on NATO’s eastern flank and so we have certain obligations to not only defend Polish airspace, but also to protect the airspace of the Baltic states, for instance," Błaszczak said on Tuesday, as quoted by the biznesalert.pl website.

He was speaking after a meeting with his counterparts from other European Union countries in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss further support for Ukraine, according to officials. 

Błaszczak also said on Tuesday that his country was ready to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets as Western allies prepare to supply the aircraft to help Kyiv’s war effort against Russia's invasion.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Thursday is day 456 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, biznesalert.pl