Poland announced the formation of a new artillery brigade as well as a new training center for the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The HIMARS will be positioned near the country’s border with Belarus as tensions between Warsaw and Minsk build.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said his military would create the 1st Rocket Brigade which will be stationed within 100 miles from the border with Belarus. The backbone of the unit will be the HIMARS. Poland ordered 20 artillery systems from the US and has already received five HIMARS.
Warsaw also plans to develop a school for training soldiers on using HIMARS. “Today we established the HIMARS Academy, modeled on the Abrams Academy,” Blaszczak explained last week. “I am also confident that together with our American partners we will train more HIMARS crews so that both those that are already in our country — those HIMARS — and those that will be equipped with the Polish Army will be operated by soldiers trained at the highest level.”
According to the US Army, the Abrams Academy provides Polish soldiers with specialized training. “The Abrams Partnership Program provides additional supplemental training on the Abrams tanks, building interoperability, a key component to stand side-by-side with Poland, a NATO ally,” a press release said. “The program augments the US Army new equipment training and Polish Land Forces modernization.”
The news comes as Warsaw has begun a military buildup along the border with Belarus. On Tuesday, Poland’s Defense Ministry said it was sending “additional forces and resources, including combat helicopters” to the shared border.
Warsaw says its military movement is in response to Minsk violating Polish airspace. Belarusian officials denied Poland’s charges. “This statement was not backed up by data from Poland,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said. “The [Ministry] views it in the manner of an ‘old wives’ tale’ and notes there were no border violations by Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters.”
At nearly $300 million, Poland is a top recipient of US military aid. Washington has largely relied on Polish territory to facilitate its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.