First HIMARS rocket launchers arrive in Poland from the US

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Poland takes first delivery of US-made HIMARS rocket launchers amid concerns over war in Ukraine with a further 500 due later this year.

Poland has received its first shipment of US-made HIMARS rocket launchers as part of a defence upgrade amid security concerns due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

Warsaw is buying billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, chiefly from the US and South Korea, including fighter jets, to modernise its armed forces.

Some of the equipment will replace weapons – including over a dozen Soviet-made MiG-29 jet fighters – that Poland agreed to give Ukraine for its defence against Russia.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the combat in Ukraine had demonstrated the value of the HIMARS and that NATO member Poland was seeking to procure additional launchers, with a goal of acquiring some 500 units.

“We are watching the developments in Ukraine, and we know that artillery has a key role in the war, in repelling the Russian invasion,” he said.

Under a 2019 contract, Poland is spending some $414 million (380 million euros) to buy 18 advanced combat HIMARS launchers and two HIMARS training launchers, with ammunition and related equipment. The deal includes logistics and training.

The launchers will go to the 1st Artillery Brigade in northeastern Poland, Blaszczak said.

Anakonda-23 military exercises

Meanwhile, military manoeuvres are taking place in south-east of the country with soldiers from Poland, the United States, Romania and Slovenia taking part.

Anakonda is the largest exercise organised by the Polish army with the participation of almost 13,000 soldiers this year. The operation takes every three years.