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Four more F-16s to be delivered to Poland

December 10, 2006 (by Chris McGee) - Four more F-16s are scheduled to arrive in Poland Dec. 14 as part of a second wave of a 48-aircraft delivery and a $3.8 billion program executed by Aeronautical Systems Center and the Air Force Security Assistance Center Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

PolAF F-16C block 52 #4044 is parked in a hangar at Krzesiny AB during the official inauguration. [Photo by Estraven]

The F-16 deliveries are part of the Poland Peace Sky Program, a Foreign Military Sales effort that began in April 2003 and is managed by the U.S. Air Force for the United States.

The first four aircraft delivered under the program arrived in country Nov. 9 amid much fanfare. Numerous dignitaries for both countries attended the arrival ceremony, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, First Lady Maria Kaczynski, Minister of Defense Radek Sikorski, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe and Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe Gen. Tom Hobbins.

The program promises to build stronger relations between the two countries and advance mutual security interests for the NATO and coalition partners as they train and operate together.

According to Steve Nix, F-16 Poland security assistance program manager with the 643rd Aeronautical Systems Squadron here, numerous ASC program offices support Poland Peace Sky.

"The F-16 Poland System acquisition program is managed by the 643rd AESS with numerous key team members here at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base," said Mr. Nix. "Various other program offices manage specific components of the program, including engine acquisition, aircrew training systems, sensors, the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, the Embedded GPS Inertial Navigation System and the Common Munitions Bit Reprogramming Equipment."

In addition to ASC's and AFSAC's program execution role, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and Air Force International Affairs led a team effort involving numerous organizations in developing the Poland Peace Sky Program.

Deliveries will take place until December 2008, with the country to receive a total of 36 F-16C and 12 F-16D models.

The Polish F-16s will be the most advanced fighter aircraft in NATO. Worldwide, 24 air forces fly more than 4,300 F-16s combined.

A ceremonial rollout of the first Polish F-16 took place at the Lockheed Martin production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 15. The aircraft purchase by Poland constitutes the first such buy from the United States by a former Warsaw Pact country.

Courtesy of Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs

Additional images:

PolAF F-16D block 52 #4077 is seen at Poznan - Krzesiny AB on November 9th, 2006 during the handover ceremony. [Photo by Dirk A. Geerts]

The Polish F-16s are locally known as "Jastrzab", which means "Hawk". This was painted on one of the tails during the official inauguration ceremony. [PolAF photo]