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Poland approved by State Dept. for $6.5B buy of F-35As

By Ed Adamczyk
Poland approved by State Dept. for $6.5B buy of F-35As
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced its approval on Wednesday of a $6.5 billion purchase by Poland of 32 F-35A Lightning II fighter planes and relevant equipment, supplies and training. Photo by Beth Stee/U.S. Navy

Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A potential $6.5 billion deal that could bring up to 32 F-35A Lightning II fighter planes to Poland's military was approved by the State Department.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the certification of the sale to Congress on Tuesday.

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The proposed sale calls for 32 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft and 33 Pratt & Whitney F-135 Engines. An assortment of parts, training programs, support and equipment, including electronic warfare systems; Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence/Communications, Navigational, and Identification; Autonomic Logistics Global Support System; software development/integration; aircraft ferry and tanker support, are part of the $6.5 billion package.

Poland entered the NATO alliance in 1999.

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"This proposed sale of F-35s will provide Poland with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces," a DSCA statement on Wednesday said. "The Polish Air Force's legacy MiG-29 and Su-22 fleet will be replaced with F-35s. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces."

Poland could have 16 F-35As by 2026, with another 16 arriving by 2030, Lockheed Vice President Greg Ulmer said last week at a military trade show last week in Kielce, Poland.

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Ulmer added that, since Poland currently builds only small parts of the plane - including landing gear elements and engine components - but is part of the plane's global supply chain, there is room to expand Polish manufacturing involvement.

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The request to purchase the planes was made in May, and meant to replace Poland's outdated, Soviet-designed fighter planes.

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