Aerial Warfare

First Lockheed Martin F-35A for Polish Air Force Progressing on the Production Line

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First Lockheed Martin F-35A for Polish Air Force Progressing on the Production Line

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First Lockheed Martin F-35A for Polish Air Force Progressing on the Production Line
First Lockheed Martin F-35A for Polish Air Force Progressing on the Production Line

The first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II for the Polish Air Force is standing with weight on wheels for the first time, a significant milestone for the jet as it moves down the production line at Lockheed Martin’s mile-long assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas. The Polish Air Force’s first F-35 was lifted by an overhead crane earlier this month from an electronic mate and alignment station where its forward and rear fuselage sections were joined to the wing-center fuselage assembly. The aircraft will now travel to final assembly, where its control surfaces will be added, along with final systems and engine installation.

Poland’s program of record calls for 32 F-35As. The first aircraft, designated AZ-01, will be delivered to the Polish Air Force later this year. The aircraft will initially be based at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Arkansas, where Polish pilot training will take place. Building on the strong legacy of the F-16, the F-35 will ensure the Polish Air Force can fulfill its NATO missions, enhancing regional security and protecting the alliance’s key interests. By serving as the most advanced 21st Century Security® solution, the F-35 will connect assets across domains to increase situational awareness for Poland and the joint force.

Poland’s first F-35, known as AZ-01, is lifted by an overhead crane from the Fort Worth factory’s electronic mate and alignment station, where its major components were joined together to form the structure of the jet.
Poland’s first F-35, known as AZ-01, is lifted by an overhead crane from the Fort Worth factory’s electronic mate and alignment station, where its major components were joined together to form the structure of the jet.(Photo by Lockheed Martin)

On 31 January 2020, during a ceremony attended by the Polish President, Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, and the US ambassador to Poland, Poland’s acquisition efforts concluded with signing of a $4.6 billion deal for procurement of 32 F-35A Block 4 jets with Technology Refresh 3 software update and drogue parachutes, for an average unit price of $87.3 million net. Yearly, 4 to 6 units are expected to be delivered, concluding deliveries in 2030. Reaching the IOC will be possible after delivery of at least 8 units together with the associated additional equipment and finalization of training of the associated personnel. After delivery, the jets are expected to be based in ?ask Air Base, Poland.

In addition to the 32 jets, the deal encompasses also:

  • modernization package and subsequent upgrades in the future,
  • the necessary equipment, incl. the ground support equipment, and any equipment needed to secure the planes’ future operation,
  • ground training system to be installed in air bases, incl. an Integrated Training Center and eight Full Mission Simulators,
  • personnel training in the US of 90 technicians and 24 pilots, incl. up to an instructor level,
  • full logistical support until 2030 as part of the Global Support Solution (GSS) system, and
    an IT system for operations management.

 

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