Polish Air Force Receives the First Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles.
Based on the photographs taken by Cpt. Krzysztof Nanuś of the 31st Airbase in Krzesny, and subsequent publication of the aforesaid imagery by Bartosz Kownacki, Polish Deputy Minister of Defense, Poland has already received the first AGM-158 JASSM missiles.
Just recently, in December, a contract concerning the acquisition of the extended range AGM-158B variant has been signed.
Pierwsze Jastrzębie #F16 w Krzesinach już z #JASSM @MON_GOV_PL @DGeneralneRSZ fot.: kpt. Krzysztof Nanuś pic.twitter.com/bjh8uvzsYm
— Bartosz Kownacki (@KownackiBartosz) January 20, 2017
As Dziennik Zbrojny notes, the blue stripes visible on the missiles depicted by the photographs suggest that the ordnance presented is inert. More importantly, the release probably refers to deliveries related to the contract signed by the former government, back in 2014.
There was no mention of the modernization of the F-16 jets in the release though. The MLU program in question assumes that the Polish F-16 software suite would be upgraded from the 4.3 up to the M6.5 variant. The upgrade integrates new armament, Link 16 net-centric suite, IFF system and updates and modifies the AIDEWS defensive suite.
Moreover, the new software also implements simulation capabilities and, finally, allows the jets to use the modified SniperXR targeting pods, as Mariusz Cielma of Polish media outlet Dziennik Zbrojny reports.
AGM-158A missiles are expected to achieve initial operational readiness, within the Polish Air Force, in March this year.
Poland currently operates 48 Vipers in the Block 52+ variant. The JASSMs will significantly increase the their strike capabilities: the large, stealthy long-range weapon is able to destroy targets at distances of 370 km (ca. 220 miles). This allows the Viper to destroy the target outside of the SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles) envelope, which is a major step in comparison to the current Polish A2G armament which has a maximum range of 70km.
The AGM-158 has been used by the Americans since 2003 and it is one of the most modern missiles in the world. The new missile uses its inertial navigation and GPS (global positioning systems) to find its target, and an infrared seeker for pinpoint accuracy right before impact.
Image Credit: Cpt Krzysztof Nanuś via Bartosz Kownacki’s TT account
I wonder how the Russians feel about that one ? :)
Yes, there’s no doubt who these were purchased for. Attempting to take on Poland in the future would be a very painful experience for Russia for many reasons and this is just the latest.