Poland has confirmed it will sign an agreement to purchase 32 F-35 stealth multi-role combat aircraft from the United States on Friday, in what is expected to be significant addition to the fighting capabilities of the Polish Air Force.
U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, announced on her official Twitter account the signing of the purchase and underlined that the F-35 fighters will enhance Poland’s interoperability with U.S. forces:
This week Minister @mblaszczak will sign the agreement to buy 32 American F-35s. I’m proud that the U.S. is sharing the latest defense technology with key allies. F-35 fighters will enhance Poland’s interoperability with U.S. forces and our partnership for common security.
— Georgette Mosbacher (@USAmbPoland) January 28, 2020
On Monday, the Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak also confirmed that the deal between Poland and the U.S. would be signed in Dęblin in Eastern Poland.
The Ministry of National Defense (MON) declared the finalization of the deal at the end of 2019, with the planes set to cost Poland $4.6 billion. The Polish offer was first proposed in May 2019.
According to Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-35s, the first planes for Poland could be delivered as early as 2024.
At first, the planes would remain in the U.S. where Polish pilots and ground staff would train. They would enter service in Poland two years later.
The American company also announced lowering the price of the planes and the costs of their use. The current price of an hour of flight of F-35 is $44,000 but will be reduced to about $25,000.
The current technical modernization plan between 2021 and 2035, apart from purchasing the F-35s, also foresees complementing the fighters with unmanned systems fulfilling combat and reconnaissance missions.