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    Poland is preparing to receive its first F-35 Lightning II jets as part of a comprehensive military modernization effort

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    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    Poland is poised to receive its first F-35 Lightning II jets, as senior officials at Lockheed Martin have confirmed that the initial batch is expected to leave the Fort Worth, Texas, production plant in the upcoming summer months.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II prepares to land at RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II prepares to land at RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    Gary North, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for Customer Requirements, stated, “The first F-35s for Poland are expected to leave the factory this summer.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    Between late 2024 and 2026, these planes will be used at the Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as initial trainers for Polish pilots.”

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    The procurement of 32 F-35 fighters at a cost of approximately $4.6 billion is proceeding on schedule, as echoed by the Polish Ministry of National Defense.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    The F-35 deal, signed in January 2020, is a pivotal component of Poland’s strategic defense plan to retire its Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    This next-generation fifth-generation jet fighter is expected to complement Poland’s current fleet of F-16 C/D Block 52+ and FA-50 light attack aircraft.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    With the F-35s set to arrive by 2026, Poland will become the first regional user of the Lockheed Martin-manufactured fighter, ahead of neighboring Czech Republic and Romania.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    Lockheed Martin has experienced delays with the integration of the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) package, a series of software and hardware updates designed to boost the F-35’s computing performance.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    CEO Jim Taiclet has informed reporters that the F-35s equipped with TR-3 capabilities, previously delayed for over a year, are not expected to be combat-ready until 2025.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    However, the delivery schedule for Poland’s F-35s remains unaffected by these issues.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    Concurrently, Poland has engaged in talks with Boeing regarding the potential acquisition of 32 F-15EX Eagle II fighter jets.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    If the deal goes through, Poland’s air force would receive a significant capability enhancement, as the F-15EX features two F110-GE-129 engines, a digital cockpit, electronic flight controls, and an AESA APG-82(V)1 active antenna radar.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    This move is a response to evolving regional threats, particularly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    Warsaw has invested heavily in military hardware, including Abrams tanks, Apache combat helicopters, and HIMARS rocket launchers from the United States, as well as South Korean K2 tanks, Chunmoo rocket launchers, and K9 self-propelled howitzers.

    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202
    A USAF Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands RAF Lakenheath, Lakenheath, United Kingdom, 3rd October 202

    The country’s Air Force Chief of Staff, General Ireneusz Nowak, has previously highlighted the need for an expanded fleet of ten fighter squadrons, equivalent to 160 aircraft, to adequately address the current threat level.

    Relevant articles:
    Poland receiving within weeks first F35-TR3 directly from texas industry , Army Recognition, 05/14/2024
    Poland plans to acquire two squadrons of Boeing F, Army Recognition, 05/14/2024
    21 successfully launched Meteor and IRIS, MILMAG, 05/13/2024
    See aboard USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier with a checkered recent history, Yahoo News UK, 05/13/2024
    UK given stark warning over ‘negligible’ air defence systems, The Guardian, 05/12/2024

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