With Poland meticulously working to strengthen its military force and emerging as the next big military powerhouse in the European continent, it is geared to display its cutting-edge weaponry at the next month’s annual military parade.
The parade, conducted to commemorate the country’s Armed Forces Day on August 15, will display the state-of-the-art military systems that the forces have acquired recently, the Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced in the capital Warsaw last week.
According to the Polish media and a video posted online by the Polish Ministry of Defense (MoD), Błaszczak said: “Strong White and Red” – this is the motto of this year’s celebrations #WojskoPolskie. From August 12 to 15, picnics with the participation of soldiers will be organized, and a military parade will take place in Warsaw on August 15.”
The minister announced that the country’s cutting-edge military equipment will be presented to the public on the day. This is the first time since 2018 that the parade will be held in the capital Warsaw.
Before being postponed in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2022 owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the annual event was held in the southern city of Katowice in 2019 to honor the participation of Silesia’s residents in the Silesian Uprisings from 1919 to 1921.
In what could be another emphasis on Warsaw’s swelling military force, he added, “We can all be proud of the fact that the Polish Army is developing fast, both in terms of troop numbers and the modernization of equipment.” The official was speaking during a ceremony at the Polish Army Command.
The Polish MoD also posted a video on Twitter on July 9 featuring its military troops from all the services standing before Poland’s cutting-edge military equipment. All men and women officers say a catchphrase in the Polish language, with the video ending with the white and red flags of Poland.
The video, clubbed with the Defense Minister’s announcement, had led to speculations that the parade will see on display newly acquired systems like the M1A1 Abrams tanks, the HIMARS MLRS, the Leopard-2 tanks, the K9 Thunder and Krab Howitzers, as well as the Bayraktar TB2 combat drone.
However, neither the defense minister nor the ministry published the list of equipment that the country has decided to put on display.
However, the defense minister told the audience at the event that Poland had moved to acquire HIMARS rocket artillery systems, F-35 stealth fighter jets, and Abrams battle tanks from the United States, as well as K239 Chunmoo rocket artillery systems and FA-50 light combat aircraft from South Korea, among other cutting-edge weapons, in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Błaszczak also noted that Poland had recently debuted the Maa Narew (Small Narew) short-range air defense system.
He also stressed that “the strength of the army is linked to its troop numbers” and is “further enhanced by allied cooperation and interoperability” with partner NATO forces. It may be noteworthy that Poland has been the staunchest ally of Ukraine, transferring its equipment and rallying for more from the West.
These comments further lend credence to Poland’s ambition to become one of the biggest military powers in Europe, which the Russian invasion of Ukraine has further bolstered.
With concerns around Russia’s expansion and the ever-looming threat of the war spilling over from across Ukraine’s border, Poland has been on the warpath to undertake a massive military modernization drive.
Poland Is Emerging As The New Military Superpower
To create a “great army” that could resist the shock of a Russian armed strike, the Polish Defense Minister has frequently announced that the country plans to more than double its security budget in 2023. Analysts believe these plans might make the Polish army the most potent in Europe.
“The Polish army must be so powerful that it does not have to fight due to its strength alone,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on the eve of Poland’s independence day last year.
The government plans to expand its land army from four to six divisions, or 300,000 soldiers, up from 15,000. The government is anticipated to spend 3% of the national budget on the military. Its firepower will also receive a substantial increase.
Last spring, Poland agreed to buy 250 Abrams tanks from the United States for 23 billion zloty (€4.9 billion), replacing the 240 Soviet-era tanks given to Ukraine. The first 14 of these tanks, with a proven combat record, were delivered to Poland late last month.
Besides the cutting-edge US tanks, Poland had also secured the delivery of the HIMARS MLRS, the equipment that changed the game for Ukraine when it first received it. In February, US State Department approved the potential sale of long-range missiles, rockets, and launchers to Poland, including 18 HIMARS launchers.
In addition to having American F-16 fighter jets in its air force, Warsaw negotiated a $4.6 billion deal for 32 F-35 fighter jets in 2020. These fifth-generation fighter jets will be delivered sometime before the end of the decade.
Poland has also invested in combat drones that proved their mettle in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict of 2020. In October, it secured the delivery of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) for which an agreement had been signed in 2021, long before the Russian invasion.
However, South Korea has been the focus of Poland’s most recent military spending, as it has signed a flurry of agreements to purchase tanks, aircraft, and other weapons. The purchases include 218 K239 Chunmoo rocket launchers, 48 FA-50 light attack aircraft, 180 K2 Black Panther tanks, and 200 K9 Thunder howitzers.
Some equipment, including the tanks and the howitzers, were delivered in record time. However, South Korea is expected to sul of 1,000 K2 tanks and 600 K9 Howitzers by the mid-to-late 2020s.
Poland has a greater demand for modern weapons. And as analysts see it, Poland’s appetite for more equipment has now increased manifold. It earnestly believes it is on course to become the next military powerhouse of Europe.