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Poland has received its first High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, the Polish Ministry of National Defense (MND) has announced.

The systems’ arrival was announced by Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on 15 May 2023 during a conference at the 1st Transport Aviation Base in Warsaw.

“We are welcoming HIMARS to the Polish armed forces today: equipment that has proven itself in battle in the hands of the Ukrainians stopping the Russian invasion,” said Blaszczak. “This weapon will go to the northeastern part of our country, to the 16th Mechanized Division. Its task will be to deter the aggressor, strengthen the Polish armed forces on the eastern flank of Poland and the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance.”

Poland originally ordered 20 HIMARS launchers in 2019 for USD 414 M (EUR 381 M). The rest of these systems are due to arrive by the end of this year.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, however, Poland has requested a further 18 launchers and 468 launcher-loader module kits: a sale approved by the US State Department in February 2023.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak pictured on 15 May 2023 with Poland’s first HIMARS launch vehicles behind him. (M Blaszczak/Twitter)

Speaking on 15 May, Błaszczak said that Poland is also in negotiations with the United States to co-manufacture HIMARS – as well as Javelin anti-tank missiles – in Poland itself, according to the website

Earlier this month it was also announced that Poland will this year establish a service centre for HIMARS, the website noted.

In also announcing the Polish HIMARS delivery, the system’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, said the Armaments Agency of the Polish Ministry of National Defence is expected to invite the company to negotiate a framework agreement for the Homar-A programme, under which Lockheed Martin with Polish Industry will integrate key components of the HIMARS launcher onto a Polish Jelcz 6×6 truck. These negotiations will also include discussion around Polish production of munitions, Lockheed Martin stated.

The US company already has a sizeable footprint inside Poland; its in-country operations there sustain 6,700 Polish jobs, of which 1,500 are with aircraft manufacturer PZL Mielec.

Peter Felstead