It looks Warsaw really wants to buy the 5th generation aircraft.
The Polish MoD announced that it has sent a LOR (Letter Of Request) today, concerning the procurement of the Lockheed’s offering. Warsaw is willing to acquire the 5th generation stealth aircraft in its effort to modernize the Polish Air Force’s inventory.
Head of the MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, announced the LOR today via his twitter account.
Myśliwce 5 generacji już na horyzoncie. Dziś wysłaliśmy zapytanie ofertowe (LOR) do naszych amerykańskich partnerów w sprawie zakupu 32 samolotów F35A wraz z pakietem logistycznym i szkoleniowym. Najwyższy czas zastąpić postsowiecki sprzęt najnowocześniejszymi myśliwcami!
— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) May 28, 2019
The potential procurement includes 32 examples of the F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) variant along with a training and logistics package. Błaszczak emphasized the fact that the acquisition is aimed at replacement of the older MiG-29 and Su-22 airframes. The Polish Air Force currently operates the aforesaid types, alongside 48 F-16 Block 52+ jets. The F-35 is to provide the Polish military aviation with an ability to work in an A2/AD bubble, that is expected to be formed should a potential conflict break out considering the geopolitical circumstances in which Poland currently finds itself.
Let us recall the fact that the MoD requested that the Harpia next generation MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) programme shall be accelerated back in November last year. The decision was fuelled by the fact that Polish Fulcrums have been involved in a couple of incidents and accidents recently which motivated the MoD to expedite the process. Lockheed Martin, according to TVN BiŚ, also assures that potential industrial input could also be provided, should Poland decide to proceed with the acquisition. TVN BiŚ also reports that Lockheed Martin’s Richard Edwards, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin International, declared that the jets could be delivered and reach IOC (Initial Operational Capability) status by 2024.
The Lockheed Martin’s representative, TVN BiŚ claims, was also emphasizing the fact that extensive pilot training, ground crew training and ground infrastructure modernization shall go hand-in-hand with delivery of the new platform and, regardless of the delivery date, Poland could use the US jets to train the pilots and the ground crews which would accelerate the potential training process shortening it by a couple of years.