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    Poland Gears Up for Arrival of Initial F-35 Lightning II Aircraft as Part of Extensive Military Upgrade

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    Australian Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – Luke Air Force Base, AZ, UNITED STATES 06.27.2018” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    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.

    Northrop Grumman F-35 Lightning II” by richcz3 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    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.

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

    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.”

    Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II lands at Nellis AFB” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    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.

    Mig 29 – RIAT 2015” by Airwolfhound is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    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.

    Lockheed Martin F-16IQ D Block 52 Viper cnRB-01 USAF 12-0016 IqAF 1601 c” by Bill Word is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

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

    210512-F-HY271-0087” by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

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

    Photographer” by Joint Base San Antonio is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    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.

    U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning IIs fly with ROK Air Force F-35s during a bilateral exercise over the Yellow Sea” by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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

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

    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.

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

    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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