Armed Forces

“Eyes and Ears” for the Polish FA-50s – Key Decisions Made

Radar PhantomStrike w FA-50
FA-50 with the Phantom Strike AESA radar.
Photo. Raytheon

FA-50PL light combat aircraft will be outfitted with the Raytheon Intelligence and Space PhantomStrike radar, spokesman for the Armament Agency, Lt. Col. Krzysztof Płatek announced. The sensor is to allow the FA-50PL to attain its target air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities.

PhantomStrike is an AESA radar with GaN elements – these make it possible to extend the sensor's detection range and enhance its capability to carry out varied tasks at once. The radar is air-cooled, instead of water-cooled. The assumption behind that is to reduce weight and power requirements. The radar in question has been developed by Raytheon Intelligence and Space.

The radar would be integrated on the FA-50PL as a part of the current performance contract on the delivery of 36 FA-50PLs. Meanwhile, the integration of the AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles would be done based on a separate agreement.

Furthermore, the US State Department also approved the sale of 34 Sniper targeting pods to Poland, at a maximum price of USD 124.7 million. These are designed for optoelectronic detection and designation of targets, and they would be used by Poland on FA-50PL. DSCA stresses that this procurement would enhance the lethality of the Polish FA-50s by allowing them to conduct target detection and tracking at a stand-off distance.

DSCA also stated that by finalizing the deal, Poland would also reinforce the interoperability within NATO. The Sniper pods are broadly employed by other NATO member states, and Poland as well (on the F-16s). Lockheed Martin acts as the prime contractor here, and no offset is expected to be associated with this deal.