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

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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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.


  1. 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.”

    • 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.

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  4. 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….

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