18:27 GMT09 August 2020
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    Poland’s ongoing military modernization program will start off 2017 by adding two Black Hawk choppers. The two helicopters are set to join a 16 chopper fleet that can replace the aging fleet of Mi-8, Mi-14 and Mi-17 aircraft.

    The Black Hawks are slated to arrive in March, Polish defense minister Antoni Macierewicz told the Polish Press Agency. It’s been a long, time-intensive process due to "all the paperwork [that] had to be consulted across the Atlantic," Macierewicz said, which has been accompanied by unwanted delays.

    After the first two Black Hawks touchdown, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Warsaw will pick Lockheed Martin, Leonardo or Airbus helicopters to round out the rest of the 16 unit fleet. The new attack helicopters are replacements for Poland’s 12 Mil Mi-8/17 utility aircraft, DefenseNews noted.

    The 16 helicopters Warsaw will procure by year-end are just one aspect of a $14.5 billion military buying spree Warsaw officials announced in December. Polish armed forces will add 1,200 UAVs, three navy ships, two mine destroyers, and a number of submarines that is still to be determined.

    The spending program coincides with a time where the Polish economy suffers from GDP per capita "significantly below the EU average," even if access and membership to EU financing since 2004 has given the Polish economy a "major boost," according to a CIA overview. Another proxy of economic health, the stock market, shows that from 2013 to 2015 the total market capitalization of Polish companies fell from about $204 to $137 billion, per CIA data.

    Meanwhile, at least 3,500 American troops shipped out from Fort Carson, Colorado at the end of January to serve as a part of an indefinite US military presence in Poland, which is part of a larger NATO effort. 


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    European Union, military spending, Black Hawk, NATO, Atoni Macierewicz, Colorado, United States, Poland
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