Poland has received the first batch of the US-made HIMARS rocket launchers it has said it plans to deploy in the region bordering Russia, the Polish defence minister said Monday.
“This weapon will be deployed in the northeastern part of our country… its task will be to deter the aggressor,” Mariusz Blaszczak told reporters.
In March, the ministry said the long-range precision rocket systems would be stationed in the military unit based in Olsztyn, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.
Blaszczak said the HIMARS launchers would “strengthen the Polish army on the eastern flank of Poland and the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance.”
Poland, a country bordering Ukraine which it staunchly supports, bought 20 HIMARS from the United States in 2019 and has now received first delivery of the systems.
But Warsaw has said it has negotiated with the United States to acquire more launchers of that type.
“The US Congress has approved the sale of almost 500 launchers to Poland. These launchers will be brought to Poland as soon as possible,” Blaszczak said.
“We want to ensure that under this new, negotiated contract, co-production of HIMARS, both launchers and rockets, takes place in Poland. This is the goal we set for ourselves,” he added.
Poland announced a sharp increase in defence spending in late January to four percent of gross domestic product, with the prime minister saying the country needed to arm itself “faster” in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine.