WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s Ministry of National Defence has signed two contracts to buy 48 FA-50 light attack aircraft from South Korea, with the first 12 jets to be delivered next year and a further 36 aircraft in the years 2025 to 2028.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was present at the official signing ceremony on Sept. 16, said “the implementation of the program to introduce the FA-50 aircraft to the Polish military will allow us to fully resign from using the [Soviet-designed] MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft,” as quoted in a statement released by his office.
“We assume that, in general, for the coming decades, and above all years, this is not the end of our purchases for the Polish fighter jet forces,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Armament Agency of the Polish ministry, Lt. Col. Krzysztof Płatek, wrote on Twitter that the two FA-50 contracts are worth a total of $3 billion.
Poland is also an F-35 customer. In January 2020, the government ordered 32 F-35A Lightning II jets under a contract worth some $4.6 billion, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2024.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed the FA-50 contracts on behalf of the Polish government. In a statement, he said that the aircraft’s manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) will provide Poland with a training and logistics package to accompany the jets. In addition to this, KAI is to cooperate with Polish state-run defense giant PGZ to set up a service center for the aircraft, he said.
The latest purchases strengthen Poland’s position as the largest customer for South Korean weapons in Europe. On Aug. 26, Błaszczak signed two contracts worth a total of $5.8 billion under which 180 K2 tanks are to be delivered to Poland from 2022 to 2025, and 212 howitzers are to be supplied between 2022 and 2026.
Meanwhile, Warsaw is also holding talks with Seoul with regard to a potential acquisition and joint development of the K239 Chunmoo multi-barreled missile launchers. Poland’s accelerated military acquisitions are largely driven by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor Ukraine.