Poland Set for Biggest-Ever Increase in Military Spending


From Jan Cienski, Financial Times:  Poland is gearing up for its biggest-ever increase in military equipment spending, splashing out $43bn over the next decade in a procurement programme that promises to be a severe test of the EU’s push to reduce national favouritism in military contracts.

Polish officials say they intend to push for the involvement of local arms producers in new contracts for rockets, ships, helicopters, tanks and small arms, and will favour bids that include a hefty dose of technology transfers, offsets, and Polish final production.

The dramatic increase in defence spending is attracting attention from military contractors around the world. Poland, in Nato for 14 years, devotes almost 2 per cent of its gross domestic product to military spending.

The Polish economy has expanded by almost a fifth since 2009, feeding through into a larger defence budget. Defence spending will amount to 31bn zlotys ($9.5bn) this year, up 7 per cent from 2012. That makes Poland one of the few EU members not cutting its defence spending.

Until now, most of that spending has gone on personnel, with only around 15 per cent for equipment, leaving the Polish military reliant on outdated Soviet-era kit. The involvement of Polish forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has highlighted the need for better, upgraded equipment.

The programme aims to spend about a third of the defence budget over the next decade on modernisation – amounting to about 140bn zlotys. That will buy a new missile defence system, new vessels for the navy fleet, upgraded tanks, new military training aircraft, 70 new helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and equipment for troops.

“This is a programme that is noticeable from abroad,” Tomasz Siemoniak, the defence minister, told the Financial Times.  (photo: militaryphotos.net)

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