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Polish F-35s overpriced?

According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) the cost of F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter aircraft ordered for Poland might turn out to be 12% higher ($9,4 million) than for the same fighters manufactured for the US Air Force. The question remains, why does this happen?

F-35A multirole fighter aircraft ordered for Poland might turn out to be more costly than the same fighters delivered to the US Air Force / Picture: Polish MoD

One of the reasons might be the fact that Poland orders its new fighter aircraft through the U.S. Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, which generates additional costs, approx. $5 million per aircraft. Additional $4,4 million of added value are understood to be a result of inflation. One must not forget that Poland, just as a second country-operator of F-35As (along with Norway), decided to equip its jets with a braking parachute, which also come with a price – although significantly smaller.

On 31st January Poland signed a contract for delivery of 32 F-35 Lightning II 5th generation multirole fighter aircraft. The agreement has a value of $4,6 billion. Deliveries of the future Polish F-35s should commence in 2024-2025 (Contract for Polish F-35s signed, 2020-01-31).

During that period Poland will receive 6 aircraft, which initially will be kept in the U.S. for training of pilots and maintenance personnel. They will be transferred to Poland in 2025-2026. In the future, Poland will receive 4-6 F-35 aircraft each year, up until 2030, when deliveries should conclude.

The future Polish F-35s will replace obsolete Su-22 bombers/fighters and MiG-29 fighters, which no longer meet the requirements of the modern battlefield, and supplement a fleet of 48 F-16C/D Block 52+ jets.

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