Poland in talks to buy F-35 military jets from US: president
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland is in talks with the United States to buy modern F-35 fighter jets for its air force, President Andrzej Duda has said.
President Andrzej Duda. Photo: Łukasz Szełemej/Radio Szczecin
In an interview aired by public Radio Szczecin on Tuesday, Duda, who is commander-in-chief of Poland’s armed forces, said: "Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has declared loud and clear that he wants Poland to buy fifth-generation jets. We will try to do that in the near future. We have already started talks with the Americans about F-35 aircraft.”
Poland’s air force this month grounded its entire fleet of aging Soviet-designed MiG-29 jets pending an investigation following a crash north-east of Warsaw.
After the accident, the Polish defence ministry said it aimed to buy 32 multi-role "fifth-generation" fighters to replace worn-out MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft by 2026 as part of the country’s multibillion military upgrade programme announced last month.
Poland's government last month signed a deal to buy 20 HIMARS artillery rocket systems from the United States for USD 414 million as part of a military modernisation drive.
Poland in March last year signed what officials described as a historic deal to buy an American Patriot air defence system for USD 4.75 billion.
Duda in October 2017 signed into law plans to steadily increase the country’s defence spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2030.
Speaking during an annual briefing with top defence policy makers last week, he suggested this level of spending could “be achieved as early as 2024.”
“I hope that will be possible," he declared.
Poland was on Tuesday marking exactly two decades years since it became a member of NATO together with the Czech Republic and Hungary.