One of the options for Poland is to buy F- 35
Polish Defence Ministry decided recently to continue a service of 32 Su-22M4/UM3K attack aircrafts used by the 21st Tactical Air Base in Swidwin. The variant of a service longer than 3 or 10 years (until to 2025 years) is considered. This is related with the technical modernization of the Polish Air Force. The reason was a current in the fall of 2013 plan for the withdrawal of all Su-22 until 2015.
One of the options for Poland is to buy 64 F-35 aircrafts. Photo: USAF
Not so long ago, in the Technical Modernisation Plan for the years 2013-2022 there was a record for the modernization of airport in Świdwin and the purchase of 16 F-16 combat aircrafts (a variant similar to the Block 52 + or more modern). The first machines were to reach Poland in 2018. On the 6th of February 2014, the Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak signed the changes to the Technical Modernisation Plan. The new solutions replaced the purchase of these 16 F-16 aircrafts. A longer service of Su-22 will allow to purchase the successors for these machines. The successor will be a manned aircraft, or an armed UAV (UCAV), if the combat capabilities of UCAV will be higher than today. In the optimistic plan, the military assumes the purchase of 64 combat aircrafts of the 5th generation (4 squadrons) to the year 2030. The first funding of the program will start in 2020 (41 million euro). In the period between 2021-2022 there is a plan of 164 million euro expense. This should allow for the purchase of four new machines, probably the F -35 Lightning II. The principal payments will be after the year 2022 and the deliveries will be an average of 6-8 aircrafts per year. Other variations that the military is working on is a purchase of the 4th generation aircrafts (such as the modernized F -16) or even the UCAV.
The military services believie that an extension of a service of Su- 22 aircrafts for the next 10 years should be taken into consideration. The cost of the extension and modernisation (communication devices) of a single Su-22 aircraft will cost 1,5 million euro. All should have adequate repairs within three years. There is a suggestion that all the 32 aircrafts (2 squadrons) should be reapired. That will enable a smooth transition of a personnel from Su-22 to a new manned aircrafts or UCAV.
In the optimistic scenario, about the year 2030 Polish combat aircraft will be equipped with 3 squadrons of F-16 (48 aircrafts) and 4 squadrons of F -35 (64 aircrafts). Today Polish combat aviation is equipped with 7 squadrons and 112 combat aircrafts. In the future the numbers of squadrons and aircrafts will be saved.