Second Polish Air Force F-35 base named
On 12 February 2021, Scramble Magazine reported on the interview with the Polish Minister of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, where he stated that the Lightning IIs will be based at Łask / 32. Baza Lotnictwa Taktycznego (32.BLT, 32nd Tactical Air Base).
This air base is currently the home base for the 10. Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego (10th Tactical Fighter Squadron) operating the F-16C and F-16D Fighting Falcon.
On 8 september 2021, JR McDonald, a top Lockheed Martin executive unintentionally unveiled during a speech on the 29th MSPO defense show at Kielce, Poland that the second Siły Powietrzne RP (Polish Air Force) F-35A squadron will likely be based at Swidwin / 21. Baza Lotnictwa Taktycznego (21.BLT, 21st Tactical Air Base). This air base is currently the home for the 8. and 40. Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego (8th and 40th Tactical Fighter Squadron) operating twelve Su-22M-4 and six Su-22UM-3Ks. These ageing Russian-made aircraft should be operational until 2025.
According to McDonald; “the manufacturing of the first Polish F-35A will start next year and will be Block 4 with the Technical Refresh 3 upgrade, which includes a new core processor, a radar upgrade and a new cockpit display, as well as numerous software improvements, including enhanced electronic warfare capabilities”.
Poland signed a contract for 32 F-35A Lightning II Block 4 fighter aircraft on 31 January 2020. The first batch of eight aircraft will be delivered in 2024-2025 and will be based at Luke AFB (AZ) to train 24 pilots and 90 maintainers. The second batch will be delivered to Poland in 2026-2027, with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the squadron at Lask in 2026. Full Operational Capability (FOC) for this unit is expected by 2030.
Photo by Leszek Chemperek (via Flickr)