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First Polish F-16s arrive in Poland

November 8, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Today is the beginning of a new era in the Polish Air Force as the first four Polish F-16 are expected to arrive at Poznań-Krzesiny, the 31st air base.

PolAF F-16C block 52 #4042 is photographed on the tarmac at Forth Worth, Texas during initial roll out. [SPRP photo]

Two of the jets (#4042 and #4077) were first scheduled to arrive on Monday November 6th, but due to a radar system malfunction the pilots were forced to return to Bangor Air National Guard Base in the U.S. The flight had originated from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

On Tuesday the two aircraft made another attempt and finally touched down at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, as "Retro 11" and "Retro 12". They were supported by a KC-135 c/s "Blue 61" from the Alaskan ANG.

The other two F-16Cs scheduled for delivery (#4043 and #4044) had to divert to Keflavik due to an inflight refueling problem. After another fuel stop at Leuchars, Scotland on Wednesday, they headed for Krzesiny.

The official ceremony will be held on Thursday. A total of eight F-16s are due to be delivered to Poland before the end of this year. They are part of a 48-aircraft (36 F-16Cs and 12 F-16Ds) order by the Government of Poland. The aircraft join a fleet of more than 4,300 F-16s operated by 24 air forces around the world.

There will be three squadrons:
  • 3 ELT "Poznan" - based at Poznań-Krzesiny
  • 6 ELT - based at Poznań-Krzesiny
  • 10 ELT - based at Lask

The first Polish F-16 (#4040) took the sky for its maiden flight on March 14, 2006.

Additional images:

Roll-out of Polish F-16C block 52 #4043 at the LM facilities in Texas. [Photo by Maciej Woźniak]

PolAF F-16C block 52 #4040 is flying over Texas during its first flight on March 14th, 2006. [LMTAS photo]