Poland, South Korea Seal $3 Billion Military Aircraft Deals

JANOW, Poland (AP) -- Poland is sealing $3 billion deals with South Korea for the purchase of 48 Korean FA-50 fighter planes as the central European country takes urgent steps to increase its deterrence and defense capabilities amid Russia's war on neighboring Ukraine.

The two deals for the purchase of Fighting Falcon planes follow contracts signed last month for the acquisition by Poland of some $5.8 billion worth of South Korean tanks and howitzers.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda, who is the armed forces' supreme commander, and South Korea's Minister of Defense Acquisition Program Administration, Eom Dong-hwan, are to attend the signing ceremony Friday at a military base and airport in Janow, in central Poland.

The documents are to be signed by Poland's deputy prime minister who is also the defense minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, and by South Korean officials.

Under one of the agreements, the first 12 planes are to be delivered early in the second half of next year. The second deal is for 36 planes with technical and combat features specified by Poland, to be delivered between 2025 and 2028. The planes are compatible with the U.S.-made F-16 fighters that Poland's air force is equipped with and with the contracted F-35A fighters, according to Poland's Defense Ministry.

The deals include training, logistics and transfer of some technologies that will allow for the servicing of the planes in Poland. Warsaw says this is one of Poland's biggest and most important defense deals in recent years.

Poland's conservative government is taking steps to enhance the NATO member nation's armed forces in response to neighboring Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Poland, like other European nations and the United States, has sent military equipment to Ukraine during almost seven months of war. Warsaw is seeking to replace some of that equipment, including with U.S.-made Abrams tanks.