Tag Archives: Polish Air Force

This video shows the Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum air display at RIAT from inside the cockpit

Here’s How The RIAT Display of the Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum Looked Like “From the Office.”

In this video, you can watch, from the inside, the display routine performed by the Polish Air Force pilot Adrian Rojek during the RIAT 2015 at RAF Fairford in the UK.

The clip includes the high-performance take-off and other maneuvers that are peculiar to the Fulcrum, such as the famous tailslide.

Even though the Fulcrum is gradually becoming obsolete, it is still an agile airframe with a quite impressive flight envelope.

Despite its age, the Polish Air Force MiG-29 has become a desirable attendant of the RIAT show, thanks to the vertical take-off routine included in the display, which is beyond spectacular. The video shows this maneuver from the perspective of the “driver.”

Notably, the video also provides an insight into the effort that is required to perform such aerobatics in a fast jet.

 

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Impressive photos of the Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum Night Operations at Minsk Mazowiecki

Awesome Photos Show the Polish MiG-29s during Night Ops.

Here are some shots taken at the 23rd Tactical Air Base of the Polish Air Force where MiG-29 aircraft are stationed. The set of photographs shows the night operations of the Fulcrum jets of the  stationed in Minsk Mazowiecki.

The 23rd Tactical Air Base continues the traditions of the famous RAF Squadron 303., which made great contributions to the Battle of Britain. This is shown through the unit’s emblem, taken over from the famous Kościuszko squadron.

The 23rd at Minsk Mazowiecki is one of the two Polish bases that operate the Fulcrum. The other unit is located in Malbork, in the West Pomerania district, by the Baltic Sea – the 22nd Tactical Air Base.

Beginning on Dec. 1. the base has been commanded by Air Force Col. Piotr Iwaszko, who is also an instructor pilot and test pilot. Moreover, Iwaszko has also been working as a Polish Fulcrum Demo pilot. He has logged around 1,400 hours of flight time so far, with more than 830 flying the Fulcrum.

Notably, Polish MiG-29 jets have undergone a minor upgrade in the recent years. The modernization works also resulted in application of a new color scheme.

When it comes to the operational role ascribed to the MiG-29, within the structure of the Polish Air Force, it is tasked mainly with air policing and intercepts. However, ground attack training sorties are also flown to the PolAF training ranges in a variety of regions of Poland.

In order to maintain their proficiency, the pilots are involved in night and daytime training, across a variety of weather conditions, including snow, as the stunning photographs, taken by Wojciech Mazurkiewic show.

Image credit: Wojciech Mazurkiewicz

 

Polish Air Force Further Postpones Procurement of 5th Generation Fighters to replace MiG-29 and Su-22 jets

Polish Air Force Modernization Initiatives do not foresee 5th Generation Fighters until at least 2022.

The plan to acquire the 5th-generation jets that would prospectively replace the Su-22 Fitter and MiG-29 Fulcrum airframes, currently operated by the Polish Air Force alongside the F-16s, has been postponed by the leadership of the Polish Ministry of Defense.

Lacking the net-centric capabilities, data-links and modern precision guided weaponry Fulcrums and Fitters are becoming more and more unsuited to the conditions of the contemporary battlefield environment.

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As Tomasz Dmitruk of the Dziennik Zbrojny outlet speculates, the program in question could become a part of the subsequent planning period, between the years 2017-2026. The said modernization plan is expected to be developed next year.

In one of his interviews given to Dziennik Zbrojny, General Adam Duda, head of the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD, claimed that “Harpia” program, which is to cover the acquisition of new fighters, would be scheduled to begin from 2023.

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According to the statement issued by the Polish MoD, responding to a parliamentary question issued by MP Paweł Olszewski, the operational requirements review carried out by the Polish Armed Forces resulted in an assumption that the Su-22’s operations are expected to be maintained, thus, acquisition of the new jets is going to probably begin next year – here we mean the sole initiation of the procurement program as the acquisition itself would be far down the road.

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The adopted modernization assumptions, when it comes to the military aircraft, are focused on several priorities, including combat and support helicopters. We do know though, that this tender faces a significant delay, for the reasons related to offset agreement negotiations and, reportedly, difficulties occurring within that process, as the current government reports.

The tender has been canceled and restarted. Polish MoD is also willing to acquire 32 attack helicopters, with logistics and training package.

Second of the priority tasks that is to be implemented by the Ministry is focused on UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and reconnaissance.

Operational MALE UAV systems, mini- and micro-class systems and satellite platforms are going to be acquired.

The Ministry is to procure four operational-level ZEFIR systems, 12 tactical medium range GRYF UAVs (in this case, the systems are to be manufactured by the domestic entities), 12 tactical short range Orlik systems, and 15 mini-class WIZJER aircraft.

However, all of the programs listed above were canceled on Jul. 15, 2016 and they are expected to be restarted with the new government urging the UAV systems in question to be manufactured solely by the companies controlled by the treasury and based domestically.

UAVs are also a subject to financial limitations and Polish Deputy Minister of Defence, Bartosz Kownacki, noted that extra funds would be required to finalize the procurement process.

Same conditions apply to the micro UAVs. One of the significant developments, when it comes to the UAV systems and considering the “treasury” condition mentioned above, may be seen in the fact that one of the major Polish manufacturers of such aircraft, the WB Group, has been excluded from the tendering procedures listed here, due to the fact that it remains a private entity, even though the said company offers systems that have a track-proven record and are highly advanced.

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Thirdly, the Air Force is in the process of acquiring a new training platform for the pilots, in order to replace the aging TS-11 Iskra trainers. This is being done through acquisition of an integrated training package founded around the M-346 Master AJT aircraft.

The Ministry of Defense acquired 8 such airframes already, with optional procurement of another 4 examples possible, within the framework of the very same contract. Two jets have been received this year, with the remaining ones expected to be delivered in 2017.

Furthermore, the Ministry also took a course to acquire VIP aircraft for the government officials, with two types of platforms to be procured. Small VIP jets will be delivered next year, while medium aircraft are expected to be supplied throughout the years 2017, 2020 and 2021, one jet each year.

Exact deadlines will be known after the negotiation is finalized with the potential contractors.

Moreover, the MoD is also focused on securing the Armed Forces transport capabilities, especially within the tactical dimension, as well as within the scope of the NATO, EU and UN commitments (humanitarian aid operations, evacuations and deployment of special forces).

However, this has been done already, as 5 CASA C-295M airlifters have been acquired throughout the years 2010-2015, with 16 being operated by the air force, with 8 M-28 [Polish An-28 derivative] Bryza aircraft complementing the fleet.

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The new aircraft to be procured will probably be imported, since no relevant potential is available and offered by the Polish industry. However, the Ministry claims that any new acquisition would have to entail a relevant offset agreement.

Considering the official information mentioned above we may assume that no plans exist, among the objectives defined by the Polish MoD, to procure any new fighter aircraft, at least at the moment. With the relevant program to be started next year, we need to wait for further developments. Back in 2014  rumors suggested that the Air Force would receive new fighter aircraft by 2020, hence the current situation shows that long-term forecast, when it comes to armament procurement, may often not turn out to be realistic.

The assets which could be allocated to procure the new fighters are going to be used, instead, in order to acquire relevant systems within the Wisła and Narew air defense programs, which are both expected to be costly, considering their complexity, and urgent, in the light of the current status of the Polish IADS (Integrated Air Defense System).

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Among the analysts in Poland, two views of potential Air Force expansion exist.

The first one assumes that a MLU (mid-life upgrade) program will be launched to upgrade the F-16 jets (with AESA radars and integration of new armament including JASSM-ER missiles and possibly new Air-to-Air weaponry) along with the potential procurement of the F-16V to replace the aging Fulcrums and Fitters. Furthermore, Poland is also looking forward to expand its SEAD capabilities and the information available within the defense media-sphere suggests that procurement of the AARGM missiles for the F-16 could also be expected in the near future.

The second hypothesis assumes that new airframes, possibly Gripen-NG or the F-35, would be bought to replace the Polish Post-Soviet fighter force.

Whichever takes place, we need to patiently wait for relevant decisions to be taken.

The “procurement landscape” is quite varied, as back in 2015, when the Eurofighter Typhoon was also being promoted during the Radom Air Show, as a fighter for the Polish Air Force. What is clear though, the priorities assumed by the new right-wing government have been redefined, hence it is very unlikely that we would see any new combat aircraft in the Polish Air Force, within the upcoming decade.

This, on the other hand, would mean that whoever is elected next, would have a perfect pretext not to procure new fighters, for financial reasons.

Poland is going to be left with an air force counting of 48 F-16 jets, at least for now, as the combat usability of the Post-Soviet equipment, on the net-centric and dynamic battlefield, is highly dubious.

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Image Credit: Jacek Siminski/Wojciech Mazurkiewicz

 

The Polish Air Force has received the first two M-346 Master Advanced Jet Trainers

The first two M-346 “Bieliks” have arrived at Deblin airbase.

Late on Nov. 14, the first two examples of the M-346 AJT (Advanced Jet Trainer) aircraft arrived at the Polish Dęblin.

During their approach to Dęblin, the “Master” jets, locally named “Bielik” (Polish for white tailed eagle), flew in formation with the TS-11 Iskra trainer aircraft which were sent to welcome the new airframes.

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The delivery of the first two of 8 aircraft was preceded with long preparatory stages, as it required the Polish pilots to be trained at Lecce-Galatina airbase, in Italy, home of 212° Gruppo (Squadron) belonging to the 61° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force, the flight school that operates the T-346s (this is the ItAF designation) in Italy.

The first flight of the Polish jet took place on Jul. 4, 2016, while Lt. Col. Konrad Madej was the first Polish pilot to fly the jet, an Italian airframe, on Mar. 2, 2016.

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The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 “Master” is a dual-engine LIFT (Lead-In to Fighter Trainer) jet for the latest stage of a fighter pilot training which aims to develop the information management and aircraft handling skills of future pilots before they are assigned to the OCUs (Operational Conversion Units).

The aircraft has also been selected by Italy, Israel and Singapore.

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Image credit: Andrzej Rogucki

Check out this awesome tribute to the pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain with RAF’s No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron

An interesting composite photo pays homage to the Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain.

Konrad “kifcio” Kifert, member of the Air-Action Association of the Aviation Photographers from Poland paid a great tribute to the Polish WW2 veterans who fought in the Battle of Britain. The shot above, taken at the 23rd Tactical Air Base in Minsk Mazowiecki, symbolizes the heritage which is carried by the 1st Tactical Aviation Squadron, stationed at that base.

Kifert, known for his work related to the MiG-29 Fulcrum, decided to create a photo showing the pilots of the current squadron based at Minsk Mazowiecki, and establish a connection between them and the RAF Squadron 303, by photoshopping the actual photo of the famous squadron between the group of the pilots which is flying in the unit now, and the MiG-29 fighter visible in the background.

The result is awesome and the idea to pay such tribute to the Polish heroes who contributed greatly to the Battle of Britain, is very original and unique.

The unit is the descendant of the traditions of the famous Kosciuszko Squadron. Its name came from a Polish Lithuanian hero, Tadeusz Kościuszko, and it has been ascribed to a number of Polish Air Force units. The interesting fact is that the insignia used by each of the Squadrons, was a tribute paid by Eliott Chess, an American pilot who flew for the Polish Army during the Polish Soviet War. Kosciuszko greatly contributed to the American Revolutionary War, acting as a colonel in the Continental Army. He was also a military architect who took care of the fortifications at the West Point in the US. has been borne by several units of the Polish Air Force throughout its history.

During the World War II, the Kosciuszko Squadron was established within the RAF, and contributed to the win in the Battle of Britain. During the World War II the Squadron flew the Hurricane fighters.

Churchill, after the Battle of Britain, referred to the RAF effort using the following, famous words: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”

The idea of creating the above photo dates back to the end of May 2016, according to Kifert. Nonetheless, it took some time to bring the idea to life, as not always were the pilots present at the base, or some more important issues were being resolved at the moment, as the base was preparing itself to host an open day show.

The photo was eventually taken on Sep. 9, and in this way the project has been born.

The main idea on which the photograph was founded was to create a connection between the Minsk based “Reapers” [Kosynierzy in Polish] and their historical heritage, dating back to the Battle of Britain. The process was long and painful, and took almost a month, however, the results are stunning – the successors of the RAF Squadron 303 have met their ancestry, even though that meeting is virtual.

In the photo, you may see the following pilots of the RAF Squadron (from the left): P/O Ferić, F/Lt Kent, F/O Grzeszczak, P/O Radomski, P/O Zumbach, P/O Łukuciewski, F/O Henneberg, Sgt. Rogowski, Sgt. Szaposznikow. In the front, you may see all of the Fulcrum Drivers, currently stationed at the Minsk Mazowiecki base and flying the MiG-29.

Image Credit: Konrad “kifcio” Kifert (kifcio.pl / spfl.pl)

 

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