K9 self-propelled howitzers manufactured by Hanwha Defense will be exported to Poland over the next several years. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense
SEOUL, July 29 (UPI) -- Poland has agreed to import South Korean tanks, howitzers and fighter jets amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
The contract, announced Wednesday, involves 980 K2 battle tanks from Hyundai Rotem, 648 K9 self-propelled howitzers from Hanwha Defense and 48 FA-50 light attack fighters from Korea Aerospace Industries.
The two sides did not disclose the value of the deal, which will start this year and continue through 2030, but the estimates run to $15 billion.
The sales of 48 FA-50 fighter jets mark KAI's largest export of the weapon. It plans to set up facilities in Poland to ensure the stable operation of the fighters and to train the pilots.
The purchases will be executed in two stages.
During the first stage, 180 K2 tanks, 48 K9 howitzers and 12 FA-50 fighter jets will be manufactured in South Korea and delivered to Poland this year and/or next year.
The installment would fill the void left by the transfer of weapons from Poland to Ukraine in support of its war effort against Russia.
The second stage will deal with the remainder of the order, which is expected to be manufactured and assembled partially or in full within Poland.
"We are very happy and proud because this contract is a testament to K9 howitzers's excellence, as well as to our credibility," Hanwha Defense CEO Sohn Jae-il said in a statement.
Some observers warn, however, that the current administration should verify the profitability aspect of the contracts.
"Indeed, these are big contracts. But we should not pop the champagne too soon," Professor Kim Jong-dae at Yonsei University in Seoul told UPI News Korea.
"The clauses outlining the setting up of manufacturing or assembly facilities in Poland may significantly increase the cost on the Korean side. We need to check the commercial viability of the contracts," he said.