MoD puts in request for fleet of hi-tech US stealth jets
The Ministry of Defence has sent a letter of enquiry for the purchase of 32 F-35A fighter jets from the USA, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced on Tuesday, stressing it was high time to replace post-Soviet equipment with the latest aircraft.
"Fifth generation fighters are now on the horizon," Błaszczak wrote on Twitter. "Today we sent a letter of request to our American partners in the matter of the purchase of 32 F-35A planes together with a logistics and training package. It's high time to replace post-soviet equipment with the most modern fighters."
In November 2018, the defence minister recommended to the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces an acceleration in carrying out the purchase programme for new, fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The Polish Air Force currently uses fourth-generation F-16 planes.
The defence ministry announced then that the future aircraft "will operate in an anti-access and network-centric environment and will work together with the alliance air force component." Introduction of a fifth-generation fighter is provided for in the armed forces technical modernisation plan adopted in late February.
In early April, the defence minister assessed that the purchase of F-35 aircraft could be accelerated since the US authorities were talking about it publically, announcing that the US was considering their sale to Poland, Romania, Greece, Spain and Singapore.
The planes' producer - US defence firm Lockheed Martin - gave its assurance that Poland could also count on industrial benefits and that training could commence before the planes' delivery.
Lockheed Martin Executive Vice-President Richard H. Edwards declared in Warsaw in April that the aircraft could be delivered and achieve initial readiness in 2024.
He said at the time that following the international discussion phase, a formal request would be required followed by a response from the US.