Poland signed deals worth U.S. $3 billion with South Korea in September 2022 for the purchase of 48 Korean FA-50 fighter planes as the Central European country took urgent steps to increase its deterrence and defense capabilities amid Russia’s war on neighboring Ukraine.
The two deals for the purchase of Fighting Falcon combat and training planes, pictured, follow contracts signed a month earlier for the acquisition by Poland of U.S. $5.8 billion worth of South Korean tanks and howitzers.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, who also is deputy prime minister, said the deals represent “another historic day when new perspectives are opening before Poland’s Armed Forces.”
Eom Dong-hwan, head of Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said the contracts elevated the nations’ cooperation. “Until recently, we were partners. Now we can say that we are allies,” he said.
Under one agreement, worth U.S. $700 million, the first 12 planes are to be delivered in the second half of 2023. The second deal, estimated at U.S. $2.3 billion, is for 36 planes to be delivered between 2025 and 2028.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is the Armed Forces’ supreme commander, said the purchase of the FA-50 fighters will “make it possible for us to fully give up the use of the (Soviet-made) MiG-29 and the Su-22.”
He said Seoul sees the deals as an “opening for the Korean fighter planes to the European Union and NATO markets.” The Associated Press