The Polish Air Force Takes Delivery Of Its First Gulfstream G550 VIP Aircraft

Jun 22 2017 - 8 Comments
By Jacek Siminski

The Polish Air Force has received its new G550, the first post-Soviet VIP aircraft.

The first of the new Polish Air Force’s G550 VIP jets (with the second one expected to be received in mid July, and with the first operational flights to take place in the autumn) has landed at the Warsaw Chopin International Airport on Jun. 21.

The delivery of the aircraft is a tangible effect of the effort made by the Polish government to replace the aging VIP transport fleet, until now consisting of Tu-154M and Yak-40 post-soviet jets.

The introduction of the G550 paves the way for this airframe being also considered in other applications in the Polish Air Force, such as MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) or ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platforms. The Polish MoD is currently pursuing Płomykówka (ISR) and Rybitwa (MPA/ASW aircraft) programmes, and G550 may seem to be a viable candidate in both cases.

The first Polish Air Force G550 is greeted after landing at the Warsaw Chopin International Airport on Jun. 21.

Alongside the procurement of G550s, the Polish MoD also eyes the procurement of three Boeing 737 aircraft, which would act as the medium-sized platform.

Notably, the 737 has been selected without any tendering procedure, which has created major legal controversies in Poland and in the EU.

The MoD’s justification is that time had a critical relevance since the PLN 540 million, reserved in the FY2016 budget for that purpose, were only available until the end of March this year. This was the main argument supporting the single source procurement procedure: as the Polish MoD officials claimed, if the 737 aircraft were not contracted early this year, the potential acquisition would be delayed for several years. The opposition was not happy, as the MoD spent PLN 2 billion, without any tender, in 19 days, favoring a single manufacturer.

Coming back to the post-soviet VIP aircraft, the initiative to have the aforesaid aircraft replaced is someone an effect of the Smolensk incident in which a Polish Tupolev Tu-154M has crashed, killing the Polish President and numerous government officials. Following the tragedy, the 36th Special Airlift Regiment was disbanded and transformed into the 1st Airlift Base unit. Moreover, most official flights were served by two leased Embraer E-175 operated by the LOT Polish Airlines.

According to the official statements made by the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz during the reception ceremony, G550’s purpose would be to “provide safety for the people elected by the nation.”

The received aircraft has been named after the Polish Prince, Józef Poniatowski. During his speech Macierewicz additionally referred to the aircraft as if it was a sign of an ideological transition, from post-soviet, into western, modern chapter of the Polish history.

The head of the MoD is also known for making statements that may seem to be ridiculous. This time, it was no different, as Macierewicz publicly admitted that the Tu-154M aircraft that crashed in Smolensk could have been rigged and monitored by the Russians remotely, which seems to be a far-fetched claim.

Even though the official investigation of the Smolensk crash has ended a long time ago, pointing to erroneous training and recklessness as the reasons for the tragedy, the current Polish government claims that the crash was purposely caused by Putin, and it was a sort of attack/special forces operation to kill the Polish President.

The first G550 taxies at Warsaw Chopin International Airport.

Image credit: Wojciech Mazurkiewicz

  • Joe Trader

    Poland has a very interesting on-going modernization program – in a addition to these jets, the defense ministry made an unofficial announcement that they’ve decided against increasing their F-16 – and will instead purchase two squadrons of F-35s. These business jets are just another piece in the entire picture.

  • PabloR

    The somewhat hidden, however indisputable, conclusion of the official investigation’s report was that all the recording devices (FDR, CVR, TAWS, FMS, ATM-QAR) stopped working 1 second BEFORE the first contact of the aircraft with the ground. Is this fact also “pointing to erroneous training and recklessness”?

  • ClarkeJohnston

    Congratulations to the Polish Air Force.This premium jet will provide instant transportation to officers and chiefs of staff. The United States appreciates their friendship and cooperation on world affairs.

  • leroy

    The G550 is a beautiful, capable LR aircraft with lots of potential multi-role capability. Given Moscow’s hunger to subjugate Warsaw again, it’s good to see Poland improving their force structure with superior Western equipment. As her economy grows stronger so will her military strength, which is welcome by all of NATO and will help keep an expansionist Russia from ever enslaving the Polish people again. In the meantime, U.S. and NATO forces will buttress Polish strength on their Eastern border, both in the sky and on the land. Russia comes anywhere near Poland, and they will be annihilated!

  • leroy

    “The introduction of the G550 paves the way for this airframe being also considered in other applications in the Polish Air Force, such as MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) …”.

    I’d rather see the Polish Air Force procure some refurbished P-3 Orions from the US. With P-8A coming online, there must be lots of P-3 airframes with plenty of flight time left on them. Lockheed even offers new wing kits for the Orion (at least they used to – don’t know if they still do). The Baltic Sea is a hotbed of aggressive Russian military activity. NATO could sure use some help patrolling up there. The Polish AF needs to patrol up there to insure their own national security. Makes me wonder if/why Poland is considering getting some SLEP’d P-3s?

  • Kim Chul Soo

    So, is this another gift from the U.S. taxpayer?

  • FoilHatWearer

    Since an old Tupolev killed the Polish president and a large number of their senior govt. officiails, Poland got smart and decided to go in this direction. I’d say they done good.

  • Marcin Mochal

    The last paragraph is not correct. While the government clearly states that the official investigation after Smoleńsk catastrophy was completely butchered (and is right in this statement) it never claimed it was purposely caused by Putin. Antoni Macierewicz only stated that all possiilities should have been checked. That’s all.