The American State Department has approved a potential arms package worth up to $10 billion dollars. The proposed package includes 18 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, 45 of the Army Tactical Missile System missiles (ATACMS) each one with a range of 185-miles (297-kms,) more than 1,559 Guided Multiple Rocket Launch System (G MLRS) rockets, and many warhead variants. The warhead variants include, 532 XM403 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Extended Range Alternative Warheads, 461 M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead GMLRS-AW pods, and 521 M31A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary weapons, these include the Insensitive Munitions Propulsion System. Congress could block the sale, but that is highly unlikely due to the current political climate amongst US leadership. This proposed sale comes after the December sale of HIMARS and ATACMS to Lithuania. That sale was worth $495 million.
In an official statement a representative from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said about the sale, “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.” The representative went onto say, “The proposed sale will improve Poland’s military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies. Poland intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats.” Poland has been seeking additional HIMARS for years, but the US had been dragging their feet. This changed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In May of last year, Poland requested an additional 500 HIMARS launchers from the United States, but Lockheed Martin informed the Poles that they could provide only around 200 launchers. Poland instead acquired 288 Chunmoo rocket launchers from South Korea.
Poland has signed a myriad of arms deals in the last year after increasing its defense spending from 2.4% of its GDP to 4%. That 2.4% of GDP was already the third highest within NATO. The Poles now move to first ahead of Greece at 3.76% and the US at 3.47%. The Polish increase is in line with the opinion of some NATO members, including Poland, Lithuania, and England, that believe the alliance’s 2% of GDP minimum should be raised. Some of the other arms purchases that Poland has made in the last year includes, 116 Abrams tanks (Poland purchased 250 last year,) 180 K2 Black Panther tanks from South Korea, 48 K9 howitzers, and 48 FA-50 light combat fighter jets. Poland also plans to begin domestic production of the K2PL variant of the Black Panther (more than 800 units planned) as well as the K9 howitzer (approximately 600 units planned.) All of this new equipment will be joined by 250,000 additional professional soldiers and 50,000 civil defense personnel in the next few years. This will bring Poland’s total active personnel to around 370,000 while their reserve forces will number around 82,500. 370,000 activate personnel will be the largest amount of active forces within the EU, about 66,000 more than France.