President Andrzej Duda and the head of the Ministry of National Defence (MON) Mariusz Błaszczak will observe shooting exercises of Korean K2 tanks and K9 howitzers at a firing range near Orzysz.
The first examples of K2 Black Panther tanks and K9 Thunder cannon howitzers arrived in Poland from South Korea in December last year. The equipment is now gradually being delivered to the equipment of the 16th Mechanised Division, whose units are located in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship – including Giżycko, Węgorzewo, Bartoszyce and Braniewo.
In July last year, the Ministry of Defence concluded a framework agreement providing for the purchase of 672 155mm cannon howitzers on the K9A1 crawler chassis and its Polonised development version K9PL with to-body vehicles, a training and logistics package, a stock of ammunition and technical support. The framework contract for the purchase of K2 tanks provides for the purchase of 1,000 of these vehicles. The first delivery of 10 tanks and 24 howitzers was ceremonially received last December by President Andrzej Duda and the head of the Ministry of Defence.
In justifying the purchase of South Korean equipment, the Ministry of Defence pointed to the close timing of the first deliveries of systems to fill the gap left by the armament handed over to Ukraine, as well as reliability and efficient service.
The K2 Black Panther is a 3+ generation basic tank. Its armament is a 120mm calibre smoothbore cannon with automatic reloading, which can use the latest ammunition types. Secondary armament is a 7.62mm machine gun and a 12.7mm large-calibre machine gun.
The K9 Thunder is a South Korean self-propelled howitzer on a tracked chassis. Its main armament is a 155mm cannon, which provides precise fire at ranges of up to about 40km. The secondary armament is a 12.7mm machine gun. The K9 armour provides protection against small calibre weapons and artillery shrapnel.