The US will station more troops in Poland, Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on April 29th.
“We are on the right track to conclude negotiations on increasing the presence of US troops in Poland successfully this year. We are also not far from the purchase of F-35 aircraft from the fifth generation from the Americans,” Błaszczak said.
He said that Poland is in “advanced talks and negotiations” with Washington to increase the presence of US troops in the country. Błaszczak added that “a few days ago in Poland there was an American working group”. A visit of the head of the Ministry of Defense in the USA is planned.
“The decision to strengthen US troops in Poland has been made, now we are negotiating the details, we are on the right track to finish them successfully this year,” the Defense Minister said.
Poland will also inquire for the full 6,000 troops that US President Donald Trump promised to station.
“I expect that it will not end with the promise that all that is associated with strengthening the presence of US troops in Poland will become a fact,” Błaszczak said.
Regarding the F-35 fighter jet purchase, the Polish official said that the conclusion of the deal was not too far.
He assessed that “financial and legal frameworks have already been created to make this transaction a success”.
In this context, he recalled the Plan of Technical Modernization of the Armed Forces for 2017-2026, amounting to PLN 185 billion. He also stressed that he appointed a representative to purchase aircraft of the fifth generation, which was General Jacek Pszczoła, who commanded the Air Force. “These conversations are very intense,” Błaszczak assured.
“It is important to me that these planes are not ordinary fighters, these planes are command centers that increase the combat capabilities of the F-16s already possessed by the Polish Army, and will also cooperate with HIMARS rockets (…) They will cooperate with missile forces, it will create a new system, an effective system that deters possible opponents, because HIMARS rockets have a range of up to 300 kilometers “- said Błaszczak.
The Defense Minister appeared optimistic about the F-35, since the F-16 was a “breakthrough” in the past and he expects the 5th generation fighter jet will also raise the Polish military “by several levels.”
Recently, it was reported that Poland hoped to accelerate the purchase of 32 F-35 fighter jets, 2 squadrons. It could increase the number to 48 fighter jets, but that is still up to speculation.
In a written testimony to the US House of Representatives, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, director of the Joint Strike Fighter program, indicated that the Department of Defense was considering sales to countries including Greece, Romania and Spain in addition to Poland.
Winter argued that the F-35 would strengthen Poland’s defense capabilities “in the face of Russia’s growing aggression.”
“Since the US side talks about it publicly, it means that the purchase can be accelerated,” Błaszczak said in early April.
“I am happy with this information. This is not a surprise because we have already started negotiations [with the USA]. I have prepared the legal and financial basis to acquire at least 32 fifth-generation combat aircraft.”
In March, Polish president Andrzej Duda said he had already discussed with the USA the potential purchase under its Harpia program to replace its elderly fleet of RAC MiG-29 fighters and Sukhoi Su-22 ground-attack aircraft.
The deployment of US troops and the possibility of an accelerated purchase of US aircraft would be a big boon of the current Polish government. General elections are to be held in the country no later than November 2019.
A US Combat Drone base in Poland was pronounced fully operational in March.
Additionally, in February, Poland signed a deal for US HIMARS.
A deployment of US troops prior to the elections would prove that the government is capable of delivering “protection” against “Russian aggression.” It would be unsurprising if reports of “Fort Trump” beginning its initial stages also begin surfacing.
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- Poland To Purchase 32 F-35 Fighter Jets As Part Of Increased Spending Plan For Military Modernization
- US Combat Drone Base In Poland Declared ‘Fully Operational’. More Troops, Waships Are Expected In Europe To Counter ‘Russian Threat’