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Poland announces plans for military helicopter base near Ukraine

25.03.2024 20:30
In a move to bolster national security and foster economic growth, Poland's Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz on Monday announced plans to establish a permanent military helicopter base at Lublin Airport in the southeast of the country near the border with Ukraine.
Polands Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz (left) speaks during a press briefing at Lublin Airport in the southeastern town of Świdnik on Monday, March 25, 2024.
Poland's Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz (left) speaks during a press briefing at Lublin Airport in the southeastern town of Świdnik on Monday, March 25, 2024.Photo: PAP/Wojtek Jargiło

The initiative is part of a broader collaboration between the defense ministry and the Lublin region, designed to enhance the military presence in eastern Poland and support the region's development, officials said.

The new base, which is currently in the final stages of negotiation with local authorities, is expected to house various military helicopters, the types of which are yet to be decided based on the Polish armed forces' needs.

In addition to its military functions, the base is anticipated to be a multipurpose facility, incorporating aspects of security, cargo transport and tourism.

It also aims to foster cooperation between the armed forces and local and regional administrations.

The announcement was made during a press briefing, where Kosiniak-Kamysz expressed hopes that the base would also serve as a training facility for helicopter pilots and potentially host new, advanced helicopters in the future.

The project is part of a larger effort to invest in Poland's eastern regions, including Lubelskie, Podlaskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Podkarpackie, according to officials.

Kosiniak-Kamysz emphasized the necessity of a constant military presence from both allied forces and the Polish military to ensure the security and development of these areas, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The announcement coincides with Poland's significant investment in military infrastructure and equipment.

Over the past three months, the government has signed about 20 contracts for military equipment, worth a total of PLN 30 billion (USD 7.8 billion), Deputy Defense Minister Cezary Tomczyk told reporters.

An additional PLN 8 billion (USD 2.1 billion) will be allocated this year for upgrading military infrastructure to accommodate the new equipment, Tomczyk said

Krzysztof Hetman, the minister for economic development and technology, highlighted "the economic potential of the investment," suggesting the possibility of establishing a special economic zone around the airport.

Such a zone could attract investors including those relocating from Asia back to the European Union, according to Hetman.

Lublin Airport, which began operating on December 17, 2012 in the southeastern town of Świdnik, near the regional capital Lublin, is an international airport capable of handling large aircraft such as the Boeing 767 and Airbus A310.

Owned exclusively by local government units, the airport serviced 399,000 passengers last year, demonstrating its strategic importance to the region's connectivity and development, reporters were told.


Source: IAR, PAP