The U.S. State Department has granted approval of a potential $10 billion government-to-government Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Poland. Poland’s request covers up to 18 such systems, as well as 468 HIMARS launcher loader module kits (built to install launchers on the carrying platform) plus associated equipment and parts. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) issued the notification of the potential sale to Congress on February 7.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 7, 2023
Following the launch of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago, the Polish government immediately looked to increase annual defense expenditures and accelerate capability modernization programs. Already one of the most consistent adherents to the NATO minimum annual defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP, Poland vowed bring defense budgets up to at least 3 percent of GDP (and beyond) while seeking to bolster firepower capabilities and capacity.
One of the key targets in Poland’s ambitious arms buildup remains the HIMARS, which has proven particularly effective during Ukrainian counter-operations against Russian forces.
But Warsaw’s plans to procure up to 500 HIMARS from the U.S. quickly ran into difficulties related to increased demand, production timelines, and supply chain issues.
Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed a letter of request to purchase up to 500 HIMARS launchers to support 80 batteries of Poland’s Project Homar multiple rocket system initiative back in May 2022, but the scale of that order is likely to shrink by necessity due to elongated delivery timelines. Instead, Poland shifted its attention to a nearly 300-unit purchase of South Korean K239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), which are seen by Poland as a supplement to the HIMARS acquisition.
The FMS kicks off what may prove to be a more expansive HIMARS procurement effort, with the request being noteworthy for just how few M182 launch systems are being purchased up front. Expect a gradual, phased acquisition effort with an emphasis by Poland on localized workshare to the maximum degree.