Poland’s Purchase of F-35 Fighters


Poland’s Purchase of Fifth-Generation Multi-Role F-35 Fighters


On January 31, 2020, Poland signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance to purchase 32 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) Aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin, and 33 Pratt & Whitney F-135 Engines. The supersonic, multi-role F-35 represents a quantum leap in air dominance capability with enhanced lethality and survivability in hostile, anti-access airspace environments.

  • The United States’ offer to Poland for 32 F-35 multi-role aircraft is valued at $4.6 billion.
  • The United States is providing a Total Package Approach that not only includes delivery of the 32 aircraft, but also provides aircraft, pilot and maintenance support training; advanced flight simulators, and ongoing aircraft maintenance; and a robust logistics support system equally shared with other F-35 partner nations.
  • Additionally, the Total Package Approach includes future aircraft upgrades, ensuring Poland will always be on the leading edge with its air defense capabilities.

The F-35 fifth-generation multi-role fighters, also called “Lightning II”, will:

  • Fulfill Poland’s air combat requirements. Fifth-generation is defined by the combination of Very Low Observables (VLO) stealth characteristics, integrated sensors and avionics, and sensor fusion, all supported by an advanced logistics and sustainment system. These advanced features provide Poland’s Air Force with cutting edge capabilities, delivering the ability to operate freely even in complex and dangerous combat environments.
  • Provide Poland with a robust defense capability to deter aggression in the region.
  • Augment Poland’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability.
  • Provide Poland with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase security.
  • Improve the security of Poland and the NATO Alliance.
  • Strengthen the security and defense partnership between Poland and the United States.

Exceptional Capabilities: 

  • The F-35 is currently the most lethal and survivable fighter in the world.
  • The F-35 combines fifth-generation fighter aircraft characteristics — advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support — to produce the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history.
  • The F-35’s ability to collect, analyze, and share data is unparalleled. This capability allows Polish and NATO forces to work together effectively to deter and defend against threats to the Eastern Flank and return home safely.
  • By actively sharing threat information with other aircraft, sea- and ground-based forces, the F-35 is a critical force multiplier. It provides current and unique intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data that identifies targets and passes this information to other aircraft and ground stations. The F-35 is capable of synthesizing the most complete situational awareness picture and serves as a battlespace manager. These unique fifth-generation capabilities can enhance the effectiveness of fourth-generation aircraft in Poland’s armed forces, such as the F-16, through interoperability.
  • Missions that traditionally would have required a variety of specialized aircraft to execute different tasks — air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — can now be performed by a single squadron of F-35s.
  • The F-35 enhances Polish Air Force combat capability with its game-changing very low observability stealth characteristics. Its large internal fuel and weapons payload offers a unique combination of long range and excellent maneuverability.
  • More than 450 F-35s are operating today, with more than 220,000 flight hours. Poland is getting the best the United States has to offer.  This is a dependable platform.

Better and Cheaper Over Time: 

  • The F-35 design will be continuously modernized to keep it one step – or many steps – ahead of threats. As a result, the aircraft will become even more capable and affordable over its life cycle.
  • Both production and sustainment costs are coming down. The F-35 already costs the same or less to procure than older fighter jets but provides a transformational leap in capability.
  • The F-35 allows Poland to leverage and benefit from worldwide investments in a $50 billion development program. Declining acquisition costs; multi-national commonality; advanced sustainment; and common training and support systems make the F-35 the best value for money available. 

Other Benefits: 

  • An F-35 acquisition is the whole package – not just the aircraft, but also all the training and ongoing support needed to operate this sophisticated fighter.
  • The F-35 program means upgrading Polish infrastructure across Poland’s military facilities. Those upgrades will make the Polish military more ready to respond in times of crisis.
  • Infrastructure improvements related to the F-35 mean new employment opportunities across the country, in fields like construction, as well as in the technology sector.