Poland approved by State Dept. for $6.5B buy of F-35As

Sept. 11 (UPI) — A potential $6.5 billion deal that could bring up to 32 F-35A Lightning II fighter planes to Poland’s military was approved by the State Department.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the certification of the sale to Congress on Tuesday.

The proposed sale calls for 32 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft and 33 Pratt & Whitney F-135 Engines. An assortment of parts, training programs, support and equipment, including electronic warfare systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence/Communications, Navigational, and Identification; Autonomic Logistics Global Support System; software development/integration; aircraft ferry and tanker support, are part of the $6.5 billion package.

Poland entered the NATO alliance in 1999.

“This proposed sale of F-35s will provide Poland with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces,” a DSCA statement on Wednesday said. “The Polish Air Force’s legacy MiG-29 and Su-22 fleet will be replaced with F-35s. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.”

Poland could have 16 F-35As by 2026, with another 16 arriving by 2030, Lockheed Vice President Greg Ulmer said last week at a military trade show last week in Kielce, Poland.

Ulmer added that, since Poland currently builds only small parts of the plane – including landing gear elements and engine components – but is part of the plane’s global supply chain, there is room to expand Polish manufacturing involvement.

The request to purchase the planes was made in May, and meant to replace Poland’s outdated, Soviet-designed fighter planes.