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Armed Forces

Poland Signs Contracts for FA-50 Aircraft. Korean Light Fighters for USD 3 billion

Minister Błaszczak signs a contract for FA-50
Photo. M. Mitkow, M. Szopa/Defence24.pl

Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish MoD, has today approved two execution agreements with Korean Aerospace Industries regarding the purchase of FA-50 fighter aircraft for the Polish Air Force, on the basis of framework agreement signed in late July.

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The first of the agreements is concerning 12 FA-50 Block 10 aircraft in current configuration used by the Republic of Korea Air Force, and the second one - 36 FA-50PL aircraft in new configuration, close to the future FA-50 Block 20, featuring an AESA radar, aerial refueling capability as well as broadened weapon set. The first FA-50s will be armed with guns as well as AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-65 Maverick missiles and several types of bombs, while the FA-50PLs will also carry more capable guided weapon systems.

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The first FA-50s are to be delivered in 2nd half of 2023, while the 36 FA-50PLs - between 2025 and 2028. The contract net values are USD 700 million and USD 2.3 billion, respectively, so the total value is USD 3 billion. Both contracts include training, spares and logistics support, though the weapons will have to be procured separately. A separate agreement shall also cover technology transfer to the Polish Armament Group (PGZ), which should in turn receive maintenance capabilities for FA-50/FA-50PL aircraft. Various options for long term cooperation in the aerospace industry between Poland and ROK are also being considered, particularly as Poland will be the first user of FA-50 in NATO and EU.

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It is foreseen that the first FA-50s will eventually be upgraded to FA-50PL version, though that will have to be covered by a separate arrangement. Delivery of the first aircraft in 2023 will enable Poland to withdraw one of its two squadrons of post-Soviet MiG-29 aircraft in 2023. Poland has decided to purchase FA-50 due to its high level of compatibility with F-16s (FA-50 was designed in cooperation with Lockheed Martin), quick delivery time as well as the fact that the aircraft can serve for conversion training for pilots that are to join F-16- and F-35-equipped units.

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Adding to that, speaking during the signing ceremony, Andrzej Duda, president of Poland, has said that the purchase of FA-50 is not the last step of Poland in the area of fighter aircraft procurement. President said that further procurements of F-16 or F-35 are possible.

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