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Poland and U.S. seal purchase of 32 F-35A jet fighters

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, PAP
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning
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F-35.comLockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

Polish Air Force will now have at its disposal 32 F-35 stealth multirole combat aircraft. American made state-of-the-art machines are the fifth generation of jet fighters. The contract worth 4.6 billion dollars was signed on Friday in Dęblin Air Base. One of such machines, belonging to Italian Air Force, was put on display in the base.

The contract assumes purchase of 32 machines in F-35A variant. The Ministry of Defense informed on Friday that the cost of one machine would amount to 87 million dollars, and deliveries would begin in 2024. Furthermore, the deal includes a training and logistics package, namely a supply of spare and real ware parts, as well as ground service equipment. All of the above was priced at 4.6 billion dollars, which at a current rate equal roughly 17.9 billion zlotys. This is the second most expensive military contract in the history of Poland.

The signing ceremony was attended by the President and Commander of Armed Forces Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, as well as Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak. The latter was the one who signed the document known as the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), that is the contract already signed by one of the U.S. government. The document was then handed over to U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher.

The F-35 is being built in three different main versions to suit various combat missionsU.S. Embassy in Poland

President: key stage in building modern Polish Army

Shortly before the signing, Andrzej Duda stressed that it was an extraordinarily important day for the Polish Air Force, Polish jet fighter pilots, security of Poland and the whole region of Europe.

"We've proved many times that we treat the question of allied security seriously. This is partially the reason for which our armed forces have taken part in many missions, protecting other NATO members" - he said. The president thanked all those who had helped the deal to come true, including the prime minister and Ambassador Mosbacher.

"This significantly strenghtens our security and defense. This is one of the most important stages in building modern Polish Army, proper armed forces" - President Duda stressed.

President Andrzej Duda in Dęblin Air BaseTVN24

PM: shadow of Russian dominance recedes

"It's a truly remarkable moment. Not only for decades, but rather for over 200 years Poland has been trying to step out of the long Russian shadow that dominated over this part of Europe" - said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki after the deal was signed.

He reminded of the year 1993 "when the last Soviet soldier left Polish soil". He added, that Polish Army has been trying to take a modernization leap.

"In today's technology race one must have allies and draw on the experiences of the best" - PM Morawiecki underscored. He added that despite Soviet Army had left Poland, the country still depended on the Soviet military equipment. Morawiecki mentioned the MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft which are still in use.

The head of the government also said that "F-35 is like an airborne armor that is meant to serve Polish armed forces, as well as the NATO, to protect all other forces, especially on the Eastern flank". "We're joining the elite group of countries that would be able to use the state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology" - Mr Morawiecki added.

MoD: new stage of development

Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak said in Dęblin that "today words became reality".

"With the signing of this deal, Polish Air Force are entering a new stage of its development. We're joining the elite group of countries having F-35s - an aircraft being a real command centre, an aircraft of outstanding interoperability, compatible, for instance, with Patriot system that we'd bought in 2018, also compatible with F-16s that we've been using for several years now, which guarantee safety of our homeland" - said the defense minister.

"We're entering 2020 with a big hit" - he stressed. "We have excellent, fantastic pilots, and it was for them that this deal was signed today" - Mr Błaszczak said.

Mariusz Błaszczak signs the contract on purchase of the F-35 fightersTVN24

Ambassador Mosbacher: this is not a business relationship, it's friendship

"Today's ceremony of Poland's purchase of F-35 aircraft shows how strong Polish-American ties are" - said U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher. "I'm proud to be here today. I'm proud of what the United States and Poland are achieving together" - she added.

Mosbacher mentioned the presence of U.S. troops in Poland and underscored the importance of security partnership with Poland.

According to Mosbacher, "Poland and the United States are bound with generations of family ties and human relationships, which are now easier to maintain, as Poles can now travel to Unites States without visas". "This is not a business relationship, it is friendship" - she stressed.

The ambassador thanked and congratulated president Duda for his decisive leadership in the process of closing the agreement on F-35 jets purchase.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

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