Poland about to buy 64 fifth generation fighter jets. But F-35s seem to be unaffordable

Feb 23 2014 - 21 Comments
By Jacek Siminski

Poland about to buy fifth generation fighter jets. Which ones is still unclear.

During a conference held on Feb. 6, 2014, Ministry of National Defence announced Poland will buy 64 fifth generation jets.

The new aircraft will be delivered between 2022 and 2030. In the meanwhile the Su-22 Fitters, initially set to be retired by 2015, will be modernized and kept flyable until the new planes arrive.

The sum allocated to the procurement of the future aircraft is around 2.8B Polish Zloty (930M USD).

Considered the strong ties with Lockheed Martin (the Polish Air Force already operates the F-16 Block 52+), the first candidate for the role of Warsaw’s future aircraft is the F-35. But since F-35A has a pricetag around 100 USD million apiece, the purchase of the Joint Strike Fighter is quite unlikely.

The Lightning II is very expensive, and would seriously hamper the rest of the Polish Armed Forces modernization plan, which includes new helicopters, submarines, new air defenses and anti-missile shield.

Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist


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  • R.Lopaka

    We owe Poland one after Pres.Obama screwed them on his ABM deal betrayal.

    “Polish President Blasts Obama on Missile Defense”. This week, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski accused the Obama Administration of betrayal, saying, “Our mistake was that by accepting the American offer of a [missile defense] shield we failed to take into account the political risk associated with a change of president.… We paid a high political price. We do not want to make the same mistake again. We must have a missile system as an element of our defences.”

    • Gyoz

      ABM or not ABM Putin border strategy is in any case falling apart as now also Ukraine will move to join EU and later NATO. In this perspective I think also the polish defense strategy will be reviewed and redesigned.

      • R.Lopaka

        That’ll be difficult after Putin invades this week post Olympic…..For the safety of peace loving Ukrainians. Hope you’re correct!!!

  • Endre Lunde

    Surely, there has to be some sort of misunderstanding here. For 930 million USD you wouldn’t get 64 of, well, pretty much anything. Would buy you 64 Cessnas, but no modern fighter jet of any description.

    • Miller

      That’s the exact same thing I am thinking. Didn’t the polish F-16s cost about 3 billion USD while there were 48 of them? I also tried searching for this press conference that took place on the 6th of February and I didn’t find anything. Jacek, could you possibly elaborate on this?

    • R.Lopaka

      Volume discount? LOL

    • R.Lopaka

      Maybe they’re Made in China? LOL

  • michael

    Of course they have a big price tag. They have almost 3000 air planes on order.

    They could go with boing. The F15SE and the upgrade of the super hornet aren’t “full 5th generation”, but good choices.

    • Matthew Morgan

      Actually the more planes on order, the cheaper the F-35 would get due to economies of scale. And Poland is apparently looking to buy right when the F-35 should (emphasis on the should) be at around its lowest price of $85 million. (for the A variant) Still, assuming the price tag even goes that low, their proposed budget could only purchase 10 of them, nowhere close to their goal of 64.

      • Chris B

        That is probably a yearly budget.

      • michael

        No they wouldn’t, because research and developing were already paid by the governments.
        The price would drop if demands shrinks, so that they are more appealing to costumers. Also over time, the manufacturing is improving and eventually leads to price drops.

        • Matthew Morgan

          Uh, no not really.

          R&D costs are largely separate from actual production cost. I mean, funding the development of a radar is one expense, and manufacturing it in large quantities is another.

          And also, please do us all a favor and read up on economies of scale, what your saying isn’t how prices work with manufacturing. It’s been the exact same way with virtually every single procurement ever. The quantity a manufacturer produces directly correlates with cost reductions.

  • ATman

    I want to see these magical 14.5 million dollar air planes for myself.

    • R.Lopaka

      They’re very stealthy!! Ya can’t even SEE them. LOL

  • VNCcc

    So sorry, but that 100 USD million price tag is about 50 to 65 million too low.

    And times 64 comes out at between 9,600 and 10,240 million.

    JSF-partner the Netherlands has earmarked ca. 2.5 Billion for 35 items….

  • ATman

    I think for the price Poland is offering I will offer my plane purchasing consultation services for free.
    1.Aermacchi MB-339 – loosely fits the budget plus a few mil
    2. Aero L-29
    3. Bae Hawk – a little to pricey but licensed production may help to reach delivery deadlines price point.
    4. Revival of the PZL-230 would be cool
    5.Armed version of PZL Mielec M-18

  • SwedishRAF

    OK !!! I KNOW the autor got IT a little wrong…
    …the allocated budget for THE 36 up to 64 new fighters
    is 3 to 5 BILLION USD to be paid from FY 2022 !!!

    • Steffen Kesserling

      True, but it will be financed from Fiscal Year 2018 or 2019 until 2024
      No aircraft will be delivered before year 2020.
      Budget is not 3 Billion PLN (local currency) LOL, that is less than what they spend on thir own ROSOMAK Armed Veichles

    • Crazy Horse Texas

      48 – F-16 Block 51´s (servicing until 2045)
      30 – Modernized MiG-29 (servicing until 2024)
      16 – Modernized SU-22 (servicing until 2024)
      —– The need is MAXIMUM 40 to 50 NEW FIGHTERS
      —– The costs is MAXIMUM 4.0 to 5.0 BN $

  • Another Guest (from Australia)


    “They’re very stealthy!! Ya can’t even SEE them. LOL”.
    How is the F-35 very stealthy when carrying external weapons under the wings and being seen by Nebo-M Counter Stealth radars and L-band radars on Su-35S and PAK-FA?