Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, attended the opening ceremony of the new military unit on Thursday, which also featured the establishment of a HIMARS Academy, a training facility for soldiers learning how to use the US-made equipment, was established.
“After 18 years, a rocket artillery unit has returned to Polish Armed Forces,” Blaszczak said at the opening ceremony on Thursday.
In 2005, the last rocket artillery unit equipped with Soviet-era 70-kilometre range Tochka rockets was disbanded, Blaszczak recalled.
Blaszczak said the US rockets’ 300-kilometre range was “important for deterring an aggressor”, adding that the Polish government wanted to equip the army with “weapons thanks to which Russia will not dare invade Poland.”
The new rocket artillery brigade will be stationed in the north-central city of Torun and in the north-eastern town of Orzysz, and will be part of the 16th Mechanised Division that is responsible for protecting Poland’s north-eastern regions.
The US Congress has agreed to the sale of 500 HIMARS launchers to Poland. Warsaw has stepped up its arms purchases after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The HIMARS launchers have already proven their deadly efficiency against Russian forces in Ukraine.
“I’m sure that together with our American partners we’ll train subsequent HIMARS teams,” Blaszczak said.