The State Department officially informed the Congress of its intention to proceed with the sale of 32 F-35A fighter jets to Poland. 

The contract would include 35 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter jets (the conventional takeoff and landing variant of the aircraft), 33 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines, as well as electronic warfare, weapons, and navigation systems, training, and support equipment. The total cost is estimated at $6.5 billion. “This proposed sale of F-35s will provide Poland with a credible air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability to deter aggression in the region,” says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. U.S. Congress now has 30 days to oppose the sale.

Poland’s decision to acquire the F-35 had been confirmed on June 13, 2019, by President of the United States Donald Trump, as part of a larger deal that will see the U.S. strengthen their defense relationship with the EU member state. The F-35 should replace the MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters within the Polish Air Force. The first aircraft should be delivered in 2024, with a first squadron to be operational by 2026.

READ MORE:
 
President of the United States Donald Trump confirmed Poland’s decision to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets, as part of a larger deal that will see the U.S. strengthen their defense relationship with the EU member state, as Turkey is about to be phased out of the Joint Strike Fighter program.
 

Poland may inherit Turkey’s industrial position within the Joint Strike Fighter program, with state-owned defense company Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) as a likely partner. Indeed, the new contract comes shortly after the U.S. authorities began the process of excluding Turkey from the F-35 program due to its decision to acquire the Russian S-400 air defense system. Russia has since reacted by offering Turkey to buy its Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets instead.

READ MORE:
 
After years of negotiations, the U.S. authorities finally began the process of excluding Turkey from the F-35 program due to its decision to acquire the Russian S-400 air defense system. Russia reacted by offering Turkey to buy its Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets instead.
 

The choice of Poland did not come as a surprise. Since it started its program to acquire a new fighter aircraft (Harpia program), officials of the country voiced their preference for a 5th generation fighter, thus leaving no doubt on their coming decision as the F-35 was the only aircraft of this generation in the competition. Other candidates were Boeing with its F/A-19 Advanced Super Hornet, Leonardo representing Eurofighter with the Typhoon, Saab and the Gripen E/F, as well as the company Fights-On Logistic which offered second-hand F-16 jets.