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    HomeMilitaryPoland's Air Force Embraces Historic Valor with F-35 "Husarz"

    Poland’s Air Force Embraces Historic Valor with F-35 “Husarz”

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    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

    In an evocative nod to its storied military history, Poland has officially christened its cutting-edge F-35A Lightning II aircraft as “Husarz,” a tribute to the legendary Winged Hussars, the elite cavalry that was instrumental in several historic battles.

    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

    This decision, a blend of advanced military technology and deep-rooted heritage, was determined through a democratic public competition.

    US Marine Corps F-35 Lightning II roars into the sky
    US Marine Corps F-35 Lightning II roars into the sky

    As the anticipation builds for the arrival of the new stealth jets, the first of the 32 F-35 Husarz fighters reached a significant production milestone, standing with weight on wheels at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas facility.

    F-22 & F-35 in the USAF Heritage Flight
    F-22 & F-35 in the USAF Heritage Flight

    This traditional naming convention, assigning local names to foreign-made aircraft, continues with the Polish Air Force – a practice that includes their F-16 Fighting Falcon, domestically termed as Jastrz b (Falcon).

    F-35A Lightning II takes to the skies of Fairford
    F-35A Lightning II takes to the skies of Fairford

    The Winged Hussars, symbolized by their distinct feathered armor, were formidable during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s “Golden Age,” contributing to over 16 major victories in conflicts with the Ottoman Empire and Russian forces.

    VOLKEL, THE NETHERLAND - June 14th, 2019: A Lockheed F-35A Lightning II fifth generation fighter jet of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at the Luchtmachtdagen 2019 at the Volkel Air Base.
    VOLKEL, THE NETHERLAND – June 14th, 2019: A Lockheed F-35A Lightning II fifth generation fighter jet of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at the Luchtmachtdagen 2019 at the Volkel Air Base.

    The most renowned of these was the Siege of Vienna, where they played a pivotal role in lifting the Ottoman siege of the Austrian city.

    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

    Although the modern F-35 Husarz lacks the flamboyant flair of the Winged Hussars, their subdued markings ensure that their stealth capabilities remain uncompromised. According to General Wiesław Kukuła, Chief of the Polish Armed Forces General Staff, the aircraft will not bear the traditional white-red checkerboards, opting instead for greyscale, thus reducing their detection probability.

    Kleine Brogel, Belgium - SEP 08, 2018: Italian air force Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II standing on the road while an Italian soldier is admiring the new aircraft.
    Kleine Brogel, Belgium – SEP 08, 2018: Italian air force Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II standing on the road while an Italian soldier is admiring the new aircraft.

    “The most important thing is ‘warfighting’ and the safety of our pilots,” Kukuła stated, underscoring the operational priorities.

    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

    The first Polish F-35s will initially be stationed at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Arkansas for pilot training, with plans to establish operational squadrons at the 32nd Tactical Air Base in Lask and the 21st Tactical Air Base in Swidwin.

    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

    This acquisition is part of Poland’s broader defense modernization, especially in light of the heightened security concerns from Russia, evidenced by its all-out invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
    US Air Force F-35A Lightning II pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

    Poland’s commitment to its military prowess is further reflected in its defense spending, which now exceeds 4.23 percent of its GDP, more than doubling the NATO target.

    Trio of F-35 Lightning's exit a hangar
    Trio of F-35 Lightning’s exit a hangar

    Additionally, the country has expressed intentions to host nuclear weapons, a posture intensified by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    US Marine Corp F-35B stealth takes off
    US Marine Corp F-35B stealth takes off

    The F-35 Husarz, equipped with the latest Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) and future Block 4 capabilities, symbolizes a critical step in advancing Poland’s air defense capabilities.

    Close-up of the F-35A & F-22A stealth fighters in the USAF Herit
    Close-up of the F-35A & F-22A stealth fighters in the USAF Herit

    The convergence of history and high-tech in the naming of the F-35 Husarz not only honors the past but also signals a robust future trajectory for Poland’s military strategy in a complex geopolitical landscape.

    F-35A Lightning II flypast and display for 2023 Territory Day at Mindil Beach, Darwin.
    F-35A Lightning II flypast and display for 2023 Territory Day at Mindil Beach, Darwin.

    With the Winged Hussars’ spirit embedded in its ethos, Poland’s Air Force is set to soar into a new era of aerial dominance and deterrence.

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