U.S. Government green lights thirty-two F-35 Lightning’s for Poland.
Lockheed Martin has gained U.S. Government approval to supply 32 F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft to Poland in a Foreign Military Sale worth 6.5 million dollars for the aircraft manufacture.
Lockheed Martin has offered to deliver Block 4 versions and ensuring that selected components for the jets are produced by Polish manufacturers to sweeten the deal for Poland to become the latest F-35 customer.
“If Poland decides to buy the F-35, it will receive Block 4 aircraft. This version will include a new computer, additional weapons and systems, and it will be able to be fitted with six missiles instead of four,” Greg Ulmer, vice president and general manager of the Lockheed Martin F-35 program.
“So far, we’ve delivered 425 F-35 Lighting’s, and we’re on track to deliver 131 this year. In 2018, we delivered 91 fighters; and in 2017, 66 fighters. The peak in deliveries is expected to come in 2024,” Ulmer said recently at the Polish MSPO Defence Industry Exhibition.
“By 2030, we expect there will be 500 F-35’s in Europe. Once Polish companies are approved as our supplier partners, they could make parts not only for the Polish aircraft, but also for those supplied to other countries, such as the U.S. or Japan.”
The proposed package Lockheed Martin submitted to the Poland includes 33 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines, as well as electronic warfare and command, control, communications, navigation, and intelligence systems.
With the Polish air force also gaining access to the fighter’s Autonomic Logistics Information System, other support capabilities and obtaining a full mission simulator.
In May, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak’s ministry sent a letter of request to the U.S. regarding Poland’s plan to acquire the F-35 Lightning.
The Ministry of Defence aims to replace 24 Sukhoi Su-22/M4 Fitters and 31 Mikoyan MiG-29/29UB Fulcrum jets with the F-35 Lightning in two frontline squadrons and an expected operational training unit.
The Conventional Take off Landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II was selected after a brief evaluation of the aircraft for the Polish Ministry of Defence Harpia (Happy Eagle) fighter replacement program.
Shortlisted aircraft types selected for consideration for the Harpia program included the Boeing Advanced F/A-18F Super Hornet, the Eurofighter Typhoon (Leonardo acting as lead for the bid), the Saab JAS-39NG Gripen, and second-hand block 50 F-16C/D Fighting Falcons.
The Polish air force are wanting a multi-role type fighter to replace their ageing Suhkoi and Mikoyan fighter aircraft after their value in the combat airspace is significantly limited due to advances in technology.
By selecting the F-35 it gives the air force greater flexibility and interoperability working with the United States and its allies countering possible future aggression in the region.
At this stage contracts for the Polish F-35 acquisition have not yet been negotiated or signed with quantities and dollar figures expected to fluctuate during final negotiations of the deal.
Media Release: 19/09/2019