Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Arms Imports

Beginning in 1989, long-term defense contracts with the Soviet Union and East Germany were broken unexpectedly, resulting in shortages of crucial components and materials. From 1990 onwards, the Soviet Union simply refused to supply some spare parts and lubricants not available in Poland, while raising the price of others to world market levels. The withdrawal of Soviet forces removed nuclear warheads from Scud and other Warsaw Pact missile batteries, leaving the Poles to locate conventional warheads elsewhere to fit their disarmed missiles and launchers. Naval coproduction contracts with East Germany ended with German reunification in 1990, leaving Poland with empty hulls and ships lacking armaments.

Such situations caused planners to consider importing Western military equipment. This solution would move the Polish Army toward its long-range goal of compatibility with NATO doctrine and armaments. Three major obstacles confronted such a policy, however. The introduction of Western technology would create a confused, hybrid system; sale of advanced technology by Western nations to a former Warsaw Pact member often was blocked by export restrictions of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom--see Glossary); and the Polish defense budget simply lacked sufficient funds to buy advanced Western hardware.

Data as of October 1992