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    HomeMilitaryPoland's Air Defense Soars with First F-35 Husarz Jet Taking Shape

    Poland’s Air Defense Soars with First F-35 Husarz Jet Taking Shape

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    F-35 Lightning II” by blueforce4116 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Poland is poised to elevate its air defense capabilities as the first of its F-35 Lightning II aircraft, locally designated as the F-35 Husarz, is set to leave Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, this summer.

    CGI: A F-35 Lightning II Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    This move honors the legacy of the formidable 16th-17th century Winged Hussars cavalry and signifies a major step in the Polish Air Force’s modernization efforts.

    F-35 Lightning Drops a Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The arrival of the F-35 Husarz heralds a new era of defense and deterrence for Poland, especially in the face of ongoing geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe. As reported, “The first F-35 planes for Poland are expected to leave the factory this summer,” said Gary North, vice president for customer requirements at Lockheed Martin.

    Lockheed Martin F-35 ‘Lightning II’ Heritage Flight Team” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    These advanced fighters are expected to be operational in Poland by 2026, making Poland the first NATO member in the region to operate the fifth-generation jet, with other allies like Czechia and Romania slated to follow.

    Goodbye Edwards, (Lockheed Martin F-35 ‘Lightning II’ ‘Joint Strike Fighter’s’ depart), hello Nellis.” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Poland’s $4.6 billion deal signed in January 2020 covers the acquisition of 32 jets, scheduled for delivery through 2030. These state-of-the-art jets are set to replace Poland’s aging fleet of Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters.

    An F-35 Lightning II completes a flyover of USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This upgrade is not just about replacing old aircraft; it’s a statement of Poland’s commitment to strengthening its defenses.

    An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the “Fighting Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211, flies alongside an Italian marine F-35 Lightning II and an AV-8B II+ Harrier in support of NATO-led activity Neptune Shield 22.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Poland has rapidly moved to modernize its forces, further evidenced by a $3 billion deal for South Korean KAI FA-50 Golden Eagle light attack aircraft, and interest in procuring F-15EX Eagle II fighters.

    F-35 Lightning II completes Edwards testing” by MultiplyLeadership is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The newly named F-35 Husarz, reflecting the glory of the historic Polish cavalry, will be equipped with the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) and Block 4 capabilities, ensuring that they remain at the cutting edge of fighter aircraft technology.

    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II” by Dysanovic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Despite delays in the TR-3 upgrade affecting other Lockheed Martin projects, the Polish batch is unaffected and continues on schedule. The TR-3 includes pivotal software and hardware improvements that underpin the jet’s advanced operations.

    Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II over Edwards AFB, CA” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The symbolism of naming the F-35s after the Winged Hussars cannot be overstated. These hussars were renowned for their battlefield prowess, playing a significant role in historic victories against Ottoman and Russian forces.

    F-35 Lightning II” by Chad Horwedel is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    By evoking such a potent historical symbol, Poland signals its resolve to defend its sovereignty with the most advanced military technology available. The public competition that led to the selection of the name ‘Husarz’ underscores the importance of this acquisition to the Polish people and military heritage.

    Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs begin Auto GCAS test flights.” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    As Poland forges ahead with its defense upgrades, these efforts are not occurring in isolation. The country has also shown a bold stance on nuclear deterrence, with its government actively pursuing the hosting of nuclear weapons – a pursuit that has gained urgency with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    Lockheed Martin F-35 ‘Lightning II’” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The completion of Poland’s first F-35A, AZ-01, represents more than a technological feat; it embodies the resilience and strategic foresight of a nation determined to maintain its security amidst a complex and evolving threat landscape.

    Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II over Florida” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    This milestone in the aircraft’s production is but the first step in what will be a transformative journey for Poland’s air power and regional stability.

    F-35 Lightning II” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    With the F-35 Husarz, Poland is set to enter a new realm of aerial dominance, ensuring its skies remain guarded by the echoes of its storied past and the roar of modern innovation.

    Relevant articles:
    Russia Is Watching: Poland’s First F-35 Husarz To Arrive This Summer, The National Interest
    Lockheed Martin to roll out first F-35s for Poland this summer, Defense News
    Poland’s Future F-35s Have Been Officially Named “Husarz”, The War Zone
    Poland’s First F-35A takes shape, UK Defence Journal

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