Poland to buy 32 new F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets from U.S. to replace its ageing Soviet-era planes
According to janes.com Poland has issued a formal request to the US for the procurement of 32 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) combat aircraft.
Mariusz Blaszack Minister of Interior and Administration of Poland announced that it has sent a LOR (Letter Of Request) today, concerning the procurement of the Lockheed’s offering.
Myśliwce 5 generacji już na horyzoncie. Dziś wysłaliśmy zapytanie ofertowe (LOR) do naszych amerykańskich partnerów w sprawie zakupu 32 samolotów F35A wraz z pakietem logistycznym i szkoleniowym. Najwyższy czas zastąpić postsowiecki sprzęt najnowocześniejszymi myśliwcami!
— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) May 28, 2019
Warsaw is willing to acquire the 5th generation stealth aircraft in its effort to modernize the Polish Air Force’s inventory. The ageing inventory comprises 21 MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ and 26 Sukhoi Su-22 ‘Fitter’ platforms.
Besides its elderly Soviet-built aircraft, the Polish Air Force also fields 48 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 50+ Fighting Falcons.
Related Article: Donald Trump announced that Japan to buy 105 new F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets from U.S.
Further to the F-35As, Poland’s request includes a logistics and training package. No value or delivery timeline has been given.
Andrew Gollan, a defence analyst at Berenberg, said that the current price of an F-35A was around $90m, meaning that a purchase of 32 was likely to cost more than $2.5bn.
Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Poland — which is one of only five Nato countries that meets the bloc’s target of spending 2 per cent of national output on defence — has been accelerating its efforts to overhaul its armed forces.
Last month, it struck a €380m deal with Italian defence group Leonardo for the delivery of four AW101 helicopters. And last year it agreed a $4.75bn deal with the US to buy Patriot missile defence systems, in what was the biggest weapons procurement deal in its history.
The defence ministry quoted Mr Blaszczak as saying at a defence conference in Warsaw that Poland expected to spend 185bn zloty ($48bn) by 2026 on modernising its armed forces.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions.
It has three main models:
- The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant
- The F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant
- The F-35C carrier-based catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) variant.
Photo credit: Photo by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham Public Affairs U.S. Air ForceFacebook page