Madison Sargeant’s (MARS-REERS ’22) “Made in America?: Poland’s Defense Industry” was published in “Strife” (May 27, 2022).
On 8 March, the Polish government released a statement indicating their eagerness to hand over the country’s entire MiG-29 fleet for use in Ukraine. Warsaw intended to transfer the jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany at the disposal of the U.S. government, in exchange for a purchase of similarly-capable American-made aircraft. While the scheme is unlikely to go forward, Warsaw’s request reveals a two-pronged strategy for its own national defence: 1) bolstering Ukraine’s capabilities to contest Russian military power in Europe, and 2) accelerating Poland’s defence modernization efforts. The request also perfectly captures the limits of Poland’s domestic arms industry. Throughout the last decade of crises, the Polish government has struggled to invest in and reform its domestic arms industry, antithetical to its stated objective of not only modernising, but also autonomizing, its national defence.
Polish mobile artillery shown at MSPO 2008 via Wikimedia Commons.