South Korea is using a $13.7 billion arms deal with Poland — Seoul's biggest ever — to lay the groundwork for a military-industrial juggernaut that the two nations' defense companies hope will feed Europe's hunger for weapons far into the future.

South Korea's arms sales jumped to more than $17 billion in 2022 from $7.25 billion the year before, according to its defense ministry, as Western countries scrambled to arm Ukraine and tensions rose in other hot spots such as North Korea and the South China Sea.

The arms deal with Poland, a key NATO member, last year included hundreds of Chunmoo rocket launchers, K2 tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers, and FA-50 fighter aircraft. The deal's value and the number of weapons involved made it stand out even among the world's biggest defense players.