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The Polish Armed Forces will procure K239 Chunmoo rocket artillery systems from South Korea, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced recently. With the K239 Chunmoo, the Polish Land Forces continue their series of procurements and cooperation with the South Korean defense industry. An agreement has already been reached with Hanwha Group for the delivery of 212 K9A1 self-propelled howitzers. In addition, Hyundai Rotem will supply the K2 main battle tank to Poland, which will be manufactured with the participation of Polish industry.

In May, Poland announced the purchase of 500 M142 HIMARS rocket artillery systems from the United States. As with the HIMARS system, Polish industry will participate to some degree in the production of the K239. The reason for the K239 procurement, according to Błaszczak, is the rapid availability of the South Korean system, which is expected to be in service as early as 2023. The HIMARS systems are to be integrated into the armed forces at a later date.

The Polish Armed Forces are procuring K239 Chunmoo missile artillery from South Korea, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced. (Photo: Republic of Korea Army)

In August, Błaszczak expressed interest in the Korean multiple rocket launchers. Both the procurement of the M142 HIMARS, which had already been decided at that time, and the K239 Chunmoo system, which has now been announced, represent not only a quantitative but above all a qualitative improvement in Polish rocket artillery. The latter previously had Soviet 122 mm systems.

The K239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launcher has been in service with the South Korean armed forces since 2014 and is manufactured by the Hanwha Group. The platform is an all-terrain 8×8 truck designated K239L. It features an armoured cab and a Hyundai Doosan six-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine.

According to the manufacturer, the 360° rotating launcher can accommodate missiles of various calibres. For example, the launcher can accommodate 20 rockets of 130 mm calibre or six rockets in 227 mm or 239 mm calibres. The latter 239 mm rockets can be equipped with GPS guidance to enable precision strikes out to 160 km.

In his announcement, the Polish Defence Minister also stated that in 2023 Poland would start receiving systems with an effective range of up to 300 km. Although the Minister did not mention the system in question by name, the range figure is understood to refer to the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) series of missiles.

Kristóf Nagy