Two dozen US fighter planes arrive in Poland

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Twenty-four F-15 and F-16 fighters from the US Air Force arrived in Poland on Monday as part of the periodic Polish-American training program prepared by the so-called aviation detachment.

American pilots who are stationed in air bases in Łask in central Poland and in Krzesiny, near Poznań, will be training cooperation with Polish ground forces.

According to the Polish Ministry of National Defense, 10 F-15s and two F-16s have landed in Łask and Krzesiny each. Some of the planes will leave on April 22 while others will stay until the end of the month.

Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak shared the news about the planes on social media, writing, “Two dozen American F-15 and F-16 planes arrived today. The U.S. European Command is practicing a swift transfer of air forces in Europe with the use of Polish air bases. By practicing together, we are strengthening the security of our region.”

The American planes will be operating in Polish airspace. As part of the joint training program, they will conduct missions for the direct support of ground forces, aerial combat and refueling from the KC-135 plane. The training program also entails pointing out important ground targets to the pilots, giving them data concerning positions and methods of conducting attack on chosen targets.

One of the objectives of the cyclical presence of the US Air Force (USAF) planes in Poland is the preparation of Polish air bases to support allied weapons systems. The base in Łask has also been chosen as the first in which new F-35s will be stationed.

The current rotation is being conducted as part of the Agile Combat Employment (ACE). ACE is a concept worked out by the USAF which entails the constant maneuvering of planes and changes to the places where they are stationed in combat zones. This is meant to make it more difficult for enemies to destroy the planes with ballistic or guided missiles.

Rotational presence of American F-16 and C-130 Hercules transport planes has been taking place in Poland since 2013. Throughout a year, four two-week long stays of F-16s or C-130s are organized in Poland. In 2021, due to the pandemic, the C-130 rotation planned for March was canceled. The current rotation is one of the largest ever.

The permanent ground subdivision which prepares the rotational training stays of American planes, the aviation detachment (AvDet), has been stationed in Poland since 2012 based on an inter-government deal from 2011.

The arrival of the American fighter jets on Monday was organized independently from Defender-Europe 21, which is taking place between March and June and is organized by the American land force command in Europe and Africa.

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