According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, Poland is in the process of building the largest land army in Europe as it has recently acquired contracts to purchase missile launchers, tanks, and self-propelled guns, among other arms and military equipment.
Poland procured 250 Abrams tanks from the U.S. that it used to replenish its military after sending its Soviet-era tanks and other gear to Ukraine. Warsaw also ordered numerous Korean K2 tanks and K9 artillery howitzers from South Korea in a $5.8 billion deal with Seoul. The number of tanks to be delivered by the South Koreans will give Ukraine’s neighbor four times the amount of Leclerc tanks currently in use by the French military.
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In addition to building up its weapons cache, Poland is also looking to increase its number of servicemembers from 170,000 to 300,000 over the next 13 years. In 2023 Poland is also planning to increase its military expenditures to 3 percent of its GDP, surpassing all other EU nations.
Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in July that the country would have the “strongest land forces in Europe.” While Poland’s navy and air force are still lagging behind France and the UK, the country is already working to update both. In a deal signed with the U.S., Warsaw is set to receive F-35 fighter jets and FA-50s to bolster its air force while it will also receive 3 British frigates and 2 espionage ships for its navy.
Frederic Mauro, an analyst with the International and Strategic Relations Institute said of the Polish military buildup, “Today, in Europe with the Ukraine war, we are speaking of a war economy. Having advanced weaponry is not enough, you need to have plenty of it, fast.”
While Poland was already looking to increase its arms and servicemember numbers, Warsaw appears to have stepped up the effort in November after an errant Ukrainian air-defense missile landed on a border town, killing 2, and bringing the war in neighboring Ukraine onto Polish soil.