Air Force

Poland Makes Another Step On Its Way Towards the F-35

Photo. Jacek Raubo/Defence24

The 31st AB in Poznan-Krzesiny became a venue used by the Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, to award pilots and ground crews of the Polish Air Force with certificates, marking the completion of one of the stages of training preparing them for the implementation of the 5th-gen. F-35 fighter platform.

As mentioned by the Polish Ministry of Defence, the deliveries of the Polish F-35A jets would be happening between 2024 and 2030. The first six jets would be temporarily deployed, between 2024 and 2025, to one of the US airbases, for the sake of training the Polish Air Force pilots and ground crews. It is expected that the first PAF F-35s would arrive in Poland between 2025 and 2026. During the press briefing held at the base in Krzesiny it was claimed that for the F-35s, the manufacturer adopted a principle that assumes that the training immediately involves jets procured by a specific nation. The first Polish pilots would be trained on Polish jets - not US ones, as it happened in the case of the F-16s.

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This is expected to happen next year, and the first two pilots are also expected to obtain instructor rating. That is to allow for higher dynamics of the first training for the 5th generation MRCA. Before the pilots take their seats in the cockpits, simulator training and NATO experience exchange are underway - as some of the NATO member states operate the F-35. More and more of those platforms are operated in Europe, as time goes by.

During the speech made by Mariusz Błaszczak, the head of the Polish MoD, procurement of the South Korean FA-50 jets was mentioned as well. These, as the head of the Polish MoD claims, would reinforce the Polish Air Force rapidly, also demonstrating the rapid nature of air force modernization. The FA-50 is also to be a symbol of growing cooperation efforts involving South Korea. Coming back to the F-35s, it was stressed that the aircraft in question is a net-centric design. One of its key advantages would stem from becoming a part of a broader fighting system, consisting of other elements procured in the United States. This refers to the HIMARS rocket artillery system for instance. In general, the procurement of the F-35s would pave the way toward establishing a relevant deterrence potential.

Photo. Jacek Raubo, Defence24

The certification ceremony also involved General Ireneusz Nowak, the Air Force Inspector at the General Command of the Armed Forces. Assessing the "F-35 for Poland" programme, he placed a lot of emphasis on the timely implementation of the plan shown by the US-based manufacturer. Nowak also noted that the 5th gen. aircraft procured by Poland is better in real life than on paper - at least when it comes to data that remains publicly available. Only some persons, fully acquainted with the nature of the F-35, remain in a position that allows them to comprehensively assess the platform's lethality.

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General added that knowledge sharing among NATO partners remains an important step that Poland should take when introducing the F-35. The above primarily refers to the US, however, one should also take note of the meaning that cooperation with ItAF and RNLAF brings in.

Photo. Jacek Raubo, Defence24