October 2, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Two F-16 jet fighters stationed at Krzesiny airport in western Poland, were forced to make an emergency landing, due to avionics malfunctions.
Both aircraft managed to land safely thanks to the skills of the experienced pilots and a good dose of luck.
Since the Polish air force began operating the F-16s in December last year, dozens of faults and defects have been detected in the fighter planes' equipment. All repair costs are to the account of the Polish military, as the government failed to include waranty clauses in the purchase agreement.
The defence ministry recently ordered spare parts for the F-16 for a total amount of 123 million USD, which should at least satisfy demands until 2010.
The list of problems with the Polish F-16 also includes a lack of a comprehensive IT system. Currently, all of the flight details, including fuel consumption, are recorded in an Excel spreadsheet.
"Without [the IT system], effective F-16 program management is impossible. We have two choices: either a team of air force experts will develop it by themselves or we'll organise a bid", Jacek Kotas, deputy minister of defence responsible for the implementation of the F-16 program told "Newsweek Polska".