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Korea’s Hyundai Rotem and Polish company Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) have signed a far-reaching cooperation agreement. This was announced by PGZ on the sidelines of the MSPO 2022 defence trade fair in Kielce, Poland. The subject of the agreement is the development and production of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs).

According to PGZ, the future cooperation agreement will primarily focus on research and development, production, repair, and modernisation of systems for both the Polish and export markets. PGZ President Sebastian Chwałek also provided commentary on the planned timetable, stating that first on the agenda is the announcement of the production site for the Korean K2 BLACK PANTHER MBT in Poland. This ties in with Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak’s July announcement of Poland’s decision to purchase of around 980 K2 MBTs, of which 800 are to be manufactured in Poland as the K2PL variant.

The cooperation agreement also extends to the development of the K3 MBT as well as a protected 8×8 wheeled vehicle with an automatic cannon armament, models of both were displayed at MSPO. The third part of the announcement includes an undefined UGV development – it remained open whether this will be a single vehicle or a whole family of systems.

Cooperation Agreement Context

Poland has been increasing the pace of armament procurement at least since the summer of 2021. In this context, there has been a heavy focus on armoured vehicles. The Ministry of Defence has already purchased 250 M1A2 SEPv3 MBTs, six M88A2 HERCULES armoured recovery vehicles and 17 M1110 bridging systems from the USA for €5.3Bn. The outbreak of the War in Ukraine has further accelerated this process – numerous changes to the law have been implemented, which, among other things, allows an increase in the size of Poland’s armed forces. In addition, Poland wants to spend 3 per cent of its GDP on defence as early as next year, a substantial increase over previous spending.