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Polish Goverment to Choose Warplanes by Year-End

February 23, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Polish government will decide how to acquire Western fighter jets for its ill-equipped air force in the coming months and choose a supplier by the end of the year. By the end of March a special commission will advise the government whether to buy, lease or rent aircraft for the Polish air force, which will eventually need around 100 multi-purpose jets to replace its 350communist-era warplanes. Ambitious plans to buy jets have fallen foul of budget restrictions and Poland has been offered cheaper lease or rent deals by Western manufacturers who hope eventually to secure larger sales contracts. America's Boeing and Lockheed Martin have offered to lease F-18 and F-16fighters respectively, while British Aerospace and Sweden's Saab have offered to modernize existing jets and sell Grippen planes.