Poland signs €1.5bn arms deal with Sweden as it welcomes incoming NATO ally

Poland has signed a €1.5 billion (6.5 billion zloty) deal for the supply of thousands of Carl Gustaf M4 recoilless rifles and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition from Sweden, as the Nordic country prepares to join NATO.

The shoulder-fired Carl-Gustaf rifles, produced by Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab, are designed to target combat vehicles, including tanks, and have proven effective during the war in Ukraine, said the Polish defence ministry in its announcement of the deal

“This is one of the most important contracts for equipment that has already proven its worth in combat in Ukraine, it passed the test very well,” said defence minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, who oversaw the signing of the agreement with his Swedish counterpart Pål Jonson yesterday.

Yesterday, a contract for the delivery of several thousand Carl-Gustaf M4 recoilless rifles to the 🇵🇱 army was signed.

This is yet another 🇵🇱🇸🇪 contract in recent years, demonstrating the importance of our bilateral relations and shared concern for the security of our region. pic.twitter.com/xXB77AYNnK

— Polska Ambassaden i Sverige (@PLinSweden) March 5, 2024

The Carl-Gustaf M4 was reportedly used in the first publicly known destruction of a T-90M tank, considered among the most modern in Russia’s arsenal, reports industry news service Defence24.

It has an effective range of 300 to 2,100 metres, depending on the type of ammunition used, and also allows the elimination of enemy manpower and fortified objects, as well as illuminating the battlefield and creating smokescreens.

Poland’s defence ministry has not specified the number of units included in the deal, beyond saying there will be “several thousand launchers” and “several hundred thousand rounds of ammunition”, including anti-tank, fragmentation, demolition, multifunctional, smoke, illumination, training and exercise ammunition.

The agreement also includes logistics and training packages and technical documentation. Deliveries are planned between 2024 and 2027, said Saab in a statement. The Swedish manufacturer has recently signed supply agreements for Carl-Gustaf M4s with Estonia, the US, Japan and Australia.

T-90 KILLER: The versatile M4 Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle scored one of Ukraine’s first T-90 kills. Its wide variety of ammunition makes it abatable to a variety of battlefield missions. pic.twitter.com/8mysnp7DAe

— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) February 15, 2024

“The Polish Armed Forces will be enriched with great equipment,” said Kosiniak-Kamysz, who also expressed pleasure that the deal was being signed just as Sweden is about to join NATO.

“Poland and Sweden will no longer be just partners, but also allies within NATO,” added Jonson. “We are impressed by Poland’s investment in defence infrastructure. Sweden will support Poland not only in the Baltic Sea region, but within the entire alliance.”

During their meeting in the Polish port city of Gdynia, the defence ministers also discussed Polish-Swedish cooperation in the fields of security and defence, the implementation of contracts, and assistance to Ukraine.

Poland has announced the purchase of Saab 340 AEW&Cs from Sweden, which will be its first airborne early warning and control aircraft.

The size of the deal has not been announced, but previous reports indicated Poland wanted to buy two of the planes https://t.co/Ffe8DbmDG4

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 26, 2023

Kosiniak-Kamysz also confirmed that “in the coming days” the first of two Swedish airborne airborne early warning and control systems – ordered last year and also produced by Saab – would be delivered to Poland.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Poland embarked on a military procurement spree to modernise and expand its armed forces. Last year it spent the equivalent of 3.9% of GDP on defence, the highest relative amount in NATO.

Poland’s recent purchases include a $2.5 billion deal with the United States for an advanced air defence system and a series of deals with South Korea signed under the previous government worth billions of dollars to procure over 1,000 tanks, 672 self-propelled howitzers, 48 light combat aircraft and 288 rocket artillery launchers.

Poland has signed a $2.5bn deal with the US for an advanced air defence system.

Once implemented, Poland will be the first country other than the US itself to use the system https://t.co/ooYMnQRnT3

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) March 1, 2024

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Main image credit: Gatis Indrēvics.Aizsardzības ministrija (under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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