Poland signed a $4.6 billion deal with the United States on Friday for the purchase of 32 of its most advanced fighter jets to enhance air defense on NATOs eastern flank at a time of increased Russian military activity.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said it was an “exceptionally important day for Polands air force and the security of Poland and our part of Europe.” It was among the biggest deals in the history of Polands armed forces and also a sign of the strength of relations with the U.S., Duda said.
After purchasing American Patriot missile systems, and High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), this next big investment, “will also contribute to significantly strengthening Polish-American relations,” Duda said at the contract signing ceremony.
Poland, as a NATO ally, fulfills its obligations and takes seriously Article 5 of the NATO Treaty—whereby all members consider an attack against one ally as an attack on all allies. Poland also proved its commitment to “the NATO 360 degrees principle—the principle of allied security and solidarity alliance,” by participating in many NATO missions, Duda said. Examples of such missions are, Baltic Air Policing—guarding the skies of Baltic states or carrying out observation missions in the Middle East. And this commitment made Poland eligible to join the F-35 program, Duda concluded.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed the deal and handed the document to the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, during a ceremony at the Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin, Poland.
W polskich Siłach Powietrznych kończy się epoka kokpitów z napisami cyrylicą. Rozpoczynamy erę najnowocześniejszych, budzących respekt u potencjalnych przeciwników, myśliwców 5. generacji. Umowa na 32 samoloty F-35 podpisana! pic.twitter.com/lhhIdQ7XU7
— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) January 31, 2020
U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo welcomed Polands decision. He praised Duda and the Polish government for its commitment “to continue modernizing Polands military through the acquisition of the worlds most advanced fighter aircraft, which will improve Polands ability to provide collective and self-defense. We look forward to working with our NATO Ally Poland on this project and continuing to enhance our long-term strategic partnership,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Poland expects to take delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft between 2024 and 2030. Poland will become the 13th NATO member nation to have F-35 fighters. The contract includes training, logistics, and simulators.
F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation multifunction stealth fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, according to Lockheed Martins website. The Polish air force currently uses Lockheed Martins F-16 fighter aircraft.
The jets will replace some of the Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter aircraft that Polands air force still uses.
Poland obtained clearance from the Read More – Source