“Poland’s air defense capability is critically weak” local TV station says. But it’s just misinformation

Polish media outlets seem to be a bit too inaccurate about what is happening in the Polish Air Force. This time, the lack of fact checking deals with the fleet of the Polish F-16 Block 52+ Vipers.

The Polish TV station, TVN, in its main news service has claimed the following things: runway in the 31 AB in Krzesiny is damaged, the F-16s cannot fly due to the fact that the runway is damaged, and finally – the country’s air defense capability is critically weak.

Well, some of these facts have to be straightened, because not everybody out of the mainstream media audience might be aware of what the truth was.

First of all, and it was oficially stated by the Krzesiny AB Press Officer, cpt. Marlena Bielewicz, it is not true that none of the Vipers took-off or will take-off. As The Aviationist reported earlier the runway conservation processes both in Łask were ongoing this summer.

Since two weeks, Łask AB is undergoing the same process as Krzesiny AB did in the beginning of the summer. The flights were cancelled only on Friday (that is September 13th), when the runway was indeed damaged.

And it was not damaged in a critical place, as the TV journalists seem to claim.

After the runway got repaired it was returned to normal operations both on Saturday and Sunday. Monday Sept. 16’s flights are also going to be carried out according to the planned schedule. Actually, the Polish Vipers usually do not fly training sorties during the weekends. Only QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) flights are launched in case a scramble is called to intercept unknown traffic.

Furthermore it was not the 31 and 32 airbases’ turn to be on alert this weekend, making the news provided by some Polish media a bit far fetched. Indeed, it was perfectly normal for the MiG-29s to do the job even if reports claimed situation to be unusual.

According to to Cpt. Marlena Bielewicz the POs of the bases did provide the info to the TV station via telephones, and it was not possible for them to meet the journalists in front of the cameras, as they were not present in Poznan on that day.

This is not the first time mainstream media in Poland picture the airplanes in service, either in the Lot Airlines or the Air Force, in negative light.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist


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About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.