Poland Commits to Hanwha Chunmoo MRLS

K239 Chunmoo Multiple Rocket Launcher System.
K239 Chunmoo Multiple Rocket Launcher System.

The Polish government has signed a contract with the Republic of Korea’s Hanwha Defense on 19 October 2022 for the acquisition of the K239 Chunmoo Multiple Rocket Launcher System.

The contract calls for the delivery of the first eighteen systems with ammunition in 2023 with a total of 288 systems covered by the agreement. The Polish systems will utilize the JELCZ truck chassis from the Polish Armaments Group and integrate the TOPAZ fire control by WB Electronics as well as local communications and battle management system. The in-country participation with PGZ is facilitated by the existing cooperation with related to the earlier purchase of Hanwha’s K9 tracked chassis for the Polish Krab self-propelled howitzer with the British AS-90M Braveheart turret.

The Chunmoo is a truck mounted rocket launching system developed by Hanwha for the Republic of Korea military to replace the K136 rocket launcher fielded in 1981. K239 is capable of firing several different guided and free-flight rockets. These include the unguided 131mm K33 with 36 km (22 mile) range and KM26A2 230mm (which can also be fired from the US HIMARS) with 45 km (28 miles) range. It also accepts the 239 mm GPS/INS guided rocket that can travel 80 km (50 miles) delivering either high explosive dual-function impact or delayed bunker-buster and a bomblet warhead.

This Multiple Rocket Launcher contract is likely a substitute for Poland’s consideration of the US HIMARS. It also follows the Polish commitments in August 2022 which saw a significant boost to the collaboration with the ROK. These saw Poland acquiring from Hanwha over 200 K9PL self-propelled 155mm howitzers drawing from its K9A1 Thunder and 180 K2PL Main Battle Tanks a variant of South Korea’s main battle tank, K2 Black Panther. According to a Hanwha’s overseas business division head Lee Boo-Hwan the first batch of 24 K9PL howitzers and ten K2PL tanks rolled out of their production bases at Hanwha on 19 October to be shipped to Poland.

by Stephen W. Miller