The US State Department has cleared Poland’s request to purchase 32 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft in a deal potentially worth around $6.5bn.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has formally notified Congress of the potential foreign military sale (FMS).
Subject to approval from Congress, Poland will also receive 33 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines, electronic warfare systems, an autonomic logistics global support system (ALGS), as well as command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence / communications, navigational, and identification (C4I / CNI) systems.
The sale will also include autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), full mission trainer, weapons employment capability, and other subsystems.
Other support equipment in the FMS includes F-35 unique infrared flares and logistics elements.
The purchase of the F-35s is part of the Polish Government’s strategy to modernise the capabilities of its armed forces.
The procurement will deliver advanced fifth-generation fighter jet capability to Polish Forces and enable interoperability with the US and other European nations that use the F-35 fighter aircraft.
In a statement, DSCA said: “This proposed sale of F-35s will provide Poland with a credible defence capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with US Forces.
“The proposed sale will augment Poland’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capability.”
Lockheed Martin is the primary contractor for the F-35 sale, while Pratt & Whitney will serve as the engine supplier.
The F-35s will replace the Polish Air Force’s existing MiG-29 and Su-22 combat jets.
The Lockheed Martin-built F-35 aircraft comes with capabilities such as stealth, advanced sensors, supersonic speed, and greater operational range.
It will enable the Polish Air Force to conduct patrolling, monitoring and surveillance operations without being detected.
In response to the US approval, Lockheed Martin in a statement said it marks a key step in the acquisition process.
The company expects to deliver the first F-35A to Poland by 2024.
Last week, the company showcased the aircraft’s capabilities at MSPO 2019 in Poland.
Recently, the US expelled Turkey from the global F-35 programme following Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.