Poland defense minister said on Monday (May 15) that the country has received first batch of US-made HIMARS rocket launchers. The country has said that it has plans to deploy the rocket launchers in the region bordering Russia. 

“This weapon will be deployed in the northeastern part of our country… its task will be to deter the aggressor,” Mariusz Blaszczak told reporters.

The ministry had said in March that the long-range precision rocket systems will be stationed in military unit based in Oslztyn. This is about 80 kilometres from the border from the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Blaszczak said the HIMARS launchers would “strengthen the Polish army on the eastern flank of Poland and the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance.”

Poland shares borders with Russia as well as Ukraine. Poland staunchly supports Ukraine which is currently being invaded by Russia. In 2019, Poland bought 20 HIMARS from the US. It has now received first delivery of the systems.

But Warsaw has said it has negotiated with the United States to acquire more launchers of that type.

“The US Congress has approved the sale of almost 500 launchers to Poland. These launchers will be brought to Poland as soon as possible,” Blaszczak said. 

“We want to ensure that under this new, negotiated contract, co-production of HIMARS, both launchers and rockets, takes place in Poland. This is the goal we set for ourselves,” he added. 

Poland announced a sharp increase in defence spending in late January to four percent of gross domestic product, with the prime minister saying the country needed to arm itself “faster” in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

What is HIMARS?

HIMARS or M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System includes a missile launching system mounted on a five-tone truck. HIMARS can fire six guided missiles in quick succession. The system has already been supplied to Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that HIMARS has helped change course of the country’s war with Russia.

SOURCE: News Agencies

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