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JUNE 2023

Poland’s Air Force In 2020 And Beyond

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Written by Colonel S. Kirillov; Originally appeared at Foreign Military Review 2020 #1; Translated by Monalita exclusively for SouthFront

Poland’s air force is a type of armed force that is designed to protect the country’s air space and its infrastructure on the ground, to conduct air operations, provide air support to ground and naval forces, carry out air reconnaissance and the transfer of forces and military equipment.

Poland's Air Force In 2020 And Beyond

Click to see full-size image

The following tasks are assigned to the republic’s air force:

  • providing control to the airspace and protecting state borders;
  • deflecting aggression in the airspace and protecting any government and military headquarters, administrative-political centers, industrial and economic districts, the most important economic facilities and the country’s infrastructure, as well as national and coalition groups of troops (forces) from adversary airstrikes;
  • achieving and subsequently retaining airspace superiority
  • isolating combat areas (A2/AD, of sorts)
  • Participating in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations under the auspices of international organizations
  • air reconnaissance and electronic warfare
  • conducting search and rescue operations.

The basic documents under which the Polish Air Force carries out its primary functions are the Strategic Concept of The Polish Armed Forces Model 2032, The Armed Forces Construction Plan and the AF Technical Modernization Plan. These documents are in force through to 2026.

At the same time, special attention is paid to maintaining combat and mobilization readiness of Air Force formations and units, increasing operational compatibility with the United Air Force of NATO, conducting combat training when taking into account new challenges and threats to national security, technical modernization of the aviation fleet, as well as improvements of the ground infrastructure.

The administrative leadership commands the forces and resources of the Air Force and is subordinate to the main command of the armed forces (Warsaw), it is also responsible for maintaining the required level of combat readiness of the subordinate forces, facilitating their combat training as well as acquisition of their connections, units and personnel, as well as weapons and military equipment.

The Air Force’s operational management is entrusted to the Armed Forces’ operational command (Warsaw), which includes the Air Operations Center – the primary organizational and planning body when it comes to Air Force combat.

In peacetime, duty forces as well as units that are allocated for participation in international missions and operations are operationally subordinate to the Center. The AOC organizes radio, radio- technical and radar reconnaissance and controls air traffic over the republic’s territory.

As part of the ongoing reorganization of the Polish Armed Forces command and control system in 2020, there are plans for the Air Force Command to be reassigned to the General Staff of the Armed Forces with a goal of increasing the effectiveness of the operation of the air force control system in peacetime and wartime.

The Air Force command has four wings (two tactical, transport and training aviation), two brigades (anti-aircraft missile and radio engineering), electronic warfare and teleinformation support centers, airspace control and air traffic control, an Air Force training center, an aviation engineering center, as well as the school for junior aviation specialists.

In addition, the Naval Aviation Brigade of the Navy (Gdynia-Babi Doly), the 1st Army Aviation Brigade of the Army Aviation (Inowroclaw), as well as helicopter units of the 25th separate airborne assault brigade (Tomaszow-Mazowiecki) are all subordinate when it comes to issues regarding the organization of operational and combat training of the Air Force.

The air formations, units and subunits are the basis of the Air Force. They carry out tasks to protect the country’s airspace and ground infrastructure facilities, conduct air operations, provide air support for ground forces and naval forces, conduct air reconnaissance, as well as transfer of forces and military equipment. The highest organizational unit of the Polish Air Force aviation is a wing – a tactical formation, to which aviation units and subunits are subordinated.

The anti-aircraft missile forces provide the country’s air defense, which is integrated into the joint NATO air defense system.

In cooperation with fighter aircraft, the air defense missile systems provide air strike cover for important administrative centers, industrial and economic regions, troop positions and other locations. Organizationally, they are represented by the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Belice), which is a tactical air defense unit.

The radio-technical troops are a key component of the ground Air Force intelligence system. The strength and resources of Radio-technical troops were pooled together into the 3rd radio engineering brigade (Wroclaw).

The number of Air Force personnel sits at approximately 19,000 people, which, after a mobilization deployment, can be increased to 35,000.

Poland's Air Force In 2020 And Beyond

An F-16 beloning to the Polish Air Force

The Polish Air Force is armed with: combat aircraft – 110 units (tactical fighters F-16, MiG-29, fighter-bombers Su-22); auxiliary aviation – 120 (military transport – 50, training – 70); multipurpose helicopters – 90 (combat – 50, auxiliary – 40); SAM launchers – 110; reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles.

A significant part of the Air Force’s weapons and military technology is deemed “morally obsolete” and must be replaced with modern models. This mainly concerns arms and military equipment of Russian (Soviet) production. In particular, according to Polish military experts, the MiG-29 tactical fighters have a combat readiness factor of 0.5, which does not meet NATO requirements. This is due to the long service life of this type of aircraft and its difficulty in procuring spare parts and components due to the curtailment of military-technical cooperation with Russia in 2014.

The 1st wing units of tactical aviation have the highest accident rate in the Air Force. In the period from 2017 to 2019, three MiG-29 fighters were irretrievably lost (two accidents and one disaster).

The Su-22 fighter-bombers have actually served their set service life. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense regularly extends its resources for the existing aircraft which is due to the lack of funds for purchasing a new combat aircraft.

The “Technical Modernization Plan of the Polish Armed Forces for 2017-2026” involves the purchase of 32 modern tactical fighters (the “Harpia” program).

For these goals, the Ministry of Defense plans to allocate over $5 billion, which includes the costs of training flight and engineering personnel. Warsaw is considering the American company Lockheed Martin as a potential supplier, with whom it is negotiating the purchase of F-35 Lightning-2 aircraft.

Poland's Air Force In 2020 And Beyond


Much attention is paid to the reequipment of the aircraft fleet-in-training. Contracts have been signed with the Italian company Leonardo for the purchase of M-346 training aircraft as well as with the Polish military-industrial complex PZL Warsaw-Okecie for the modernization of the Orlik PZL-130 training aircraft.

One of the areas of priority in technical modernization of the Polish Air Force is the replacement of outdated air defense systems of Russian (Soviet) production – long-range S-200 “Vega”, medium-range “Krug” and short-range “Neva”. In accordance with the plans for the rearmament of the Armed Forces, the basis of the national air defense system in the future will be the Patriot long-range anti-aircraft missile systems (the Vistula program).

For that purpose, in 2018 the country’s Ministry of Defense entered into agreements with the American companies Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed Martin for the purchase of two batteries of the Patriot air defense system (16 launchers, an IBCS automated control system, four sectoral radars AN / MPQ-65, 208 PAK-3 MSE anti-aircraft missiles), including training combat crews and technical specialists for the maintenance of those systems.

The contract is valued at about $5 billion. The delivery of Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems to the republic is scheduled for 2022, and their deployment for combat duty is scheduled for 2024.

Along with the renewal of the aircraft fleet, the Air Force command pays attention to issues of combat support, primarily reconnaissance.

In particular, in 2018, the Ministry of Defense signed a number of contracts with enterprises of the national military-industrial complex for the purchase of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of various classes. The delivery of eight such sets (a total of 40 aircraft) is planned in 2021-2023, and an additional four sets (20 devices) – in 2023-2026. The equipment will enter service with the 12th UAV base (Miroslavets) of the 1st wing of the tactical aviation of the Air Force.

In addition, Poland is participating in the project RQ-4 “Global Hawk” for the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles for operational and strategic purposes as part of the NATO air reconnaissance system “AGS” on the ground.

Poland's Air Force In 2020 And Beyond

Click to see the full-size image

The main forms of the country’s Air Force Operational Combat Training are: command-staff, aviation and joint exercises, combat readiness checks and special trainings that vary in scale, goals, objectives and participants, as well as conferences, seminars and gatherings of the leadership team.

In the course of these events, the main efforts are directed toward a comprehensive check and the drawing up of a practical plan for the aviation’s use of combat, anti-aircraft missile and radio-technical troops, maintaining a high level of combat readiness of aviation formations and improving crew flight training.

Considerable attention is paid to a preparedness to counteract a surprise attack by an air enemy, interaction with NATO allies in planning and conducting operations abroad, as well as using aviation as part of coalition groupings of forces.

To solve these problems, the republic’s Air Force forces and resources take part in national and coalition activities of operational and combat training on a regular basis. Among the most significant exercises are Tiger Meat, Frisian Flag, Siil, Anaconda and Aviation Detection.

The low level of combat readiness of the Russian (Soviet) MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft, the maintenance of which is difficult due to Warsaw’s curtailment of military-technical cooperation with the Russian Federation, has a negative impact on the implementation of the Operational Combat Training plan of the Polish Air Force.

The airfields of Demblin, Lask, Malbork, Powidz, Poznan-Kshesiny, and Svidvin are used to base the Air Force aircraft on the territory of Poland. Currently, they are being modernized to ensure the reception of various types of present-day combat and auxiliary aircraft, which are in active service with the armed forces of the NATO countries. In addition, there are more than 150 airfields of various classes, including civilian ones, of which 95 are suitable for use in the interests of military and military transport aviation, including 65 airfields with capital runways (17 – 1st and 48 – 2- class). Also, there are 20 sections of highways that are prepared for the intended use by military aircraft as a runway. Four civil airports in the cities of Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow and Poznan have been adapted to receive military transport aircraft. Additionally, the airfields of sports aviation clubs which are evenly dispersed throughout the territory of the republic can be utilized for the benefit of the Air Force.

Thus, the Polish leadership is currently carrying out measures to reorganize and conduct technical re-equipment of the air force in order to increase their combat effectiveness and bring them in line with NATO standards. In medium terms, the successful implementation of the reform and rearmament programs by the Polish command will make it possible to ensure the effective implementation of the Air Force’s airspace protection goals at the national and coalition levels.


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Dick Von Dast'Ard

I’d imagine Russia will be highly delighted if U.S. run Poland starts operating F-35… Will mean the Polish air force will be restricted their hangers far more and the aircraft themselves are less capable than the MiG’s and F-16’s in close aerial combat.

Lone Ranger

Flop-35 is everything an adversary could ask for. Poles are retarded for buying it. Same as they bought unreliable junk F-16s with rebuilt engines. Its do crappy that they told the U.S. that their 30 year old Migs are 300% more reliable, they have a hard time keeping a few in the air is a struggle for them.


We also bought F35 Ranger, but we modified it to F35I (Adir) with Israeli systems. I think it was proven very effective on the last airstrikes inside Syria.

Lone Ranger

Im sure the electronics are better on the Israeli one but the jet has issues that cant be ironed out. SAA never fired the S-300 on you, most the time they only shoot at the glider bombs or missiles. We both know why. I think Israel should have went for the Rafale thats more suitable for your needs and a lot more reliable. Russian jets would be also cool, but no way the U.S. would support that with money. I think their policy is if we give you money, you must buy ours there is no but or if.


We can take down the S300 even without stealth Ranger, but it’s not an option as we and Russia still see eye-to-eye many things. The S200 batteries we destroy like flies, everytime it is used against us. The SAA has alot of them, but they only shot down 1 F16 in almsot 40 years. I think it says alot. Regarding the U.S, well they give us money and political support so we are part of their sphere, and I don’t see how we can trust Russia or China if and when we need them. So our alliance with the U.S is our best option.

Lone Ranger

You could, but like I said last time not without major losses. SAA doesnt really want to shoot down your jets, if they wanted they would use the S-300. In my opinion when they fire at you it had the same meaning time to go home guys, we are getting irritated. Like you said that F-16 wasnt using ECM, SAA probably knows your capebilities, they probably said whoopsy, that hit. What I want to say their primary objective is deter and scare you away not to destroy you. They could… But on the longterm that would be counterproductive for both countries. At least thats my opinion.


They don’t need to deter us, what they need to do is allow Russia to sit at our border and not Iran or Hezbollah. They need to stop using their land as a bridge to Lebanon, some of our airstrikes have destroyed Iranian AD systems (could be Bavar) that were supposed to get into Hezbollah hands. Now it’s very simple as far as I see it, don’t arm Hezbollah and / or let them build military infrastructures like underground missile tunnels, and we won’t have to do anything. Our military staff won’t let Hezbollah / Iran open another front and violate the DMZ at the Golan. In the end it’s their choice what to do, if Assad is smart then he will kick them out. Nasrallah could have responded already if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want to risk the Lebanese. If Assad cares for his Syrian population, he would also not do actions to threaten our national security. If he stops, then no more airstrikes.

Lone Ranger

More or less I agree. Problem is Iran helped a lot against isis and other cia creations. And as in the movie The Godfather they ask something in return, a deal Assad cant refuse. I mean he could but what than, Russia wont drop tens of thousends of forces into Syria. Russia could create a bufferzone but they dont want to make the same mistake as in Afghanistan, or the U.S. in Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Thats why the number of Russian troops and gear is relatively low in Syria. To be honest it will be very hard to solve this longterm. We have the U.S. who wants war or at least drain Russia, we have the Saudis hating Iran, we have Iran hating everybody who is not with them and we have Syria and Russia trying to walk the razors edge. Oh I forgot we have you guys willing to sacrafice anything and anybody for your countries security. And diplomacy wont work in this case now either, nobody trusts the other, its the perfect Mexican standoff. But my friendly advice would be not only to Israel but also to the U.S. and Iran and Saudis and Turkey that if peace is the endgoal than please stop pouring gasoline on the campfire…

AM Hants

Didn’t they stop counting the primary problems of the F35, when they reached 100? Have they sorted the oxygen problem, which was similar to the oxygen problem with the F22, that the pilots refused to fly?

Lone Ranger

Thats one of the minor problems, yes. There are a lot more serious issues with it.

rightiswrong rightiswrong

It’s over 700 “glitches”, as they say, with 13 critical areas of messed up design.

That’s why they gave them to the Floridians in Palestine.

Guinea pigs.


Why did Israel stop air strikes in Syria?Iran now has a permanent presence there


Don’t worry Paul, we know every move they make in Syria. When it’s the right time to hit, we do it.


Nice to know.BTW do you know that Indian airforce secretly operates F35s?I saw a video posted on official Indian airforce twitter accounts wherein they had a video of F35s


Good I hope you do, shoot down the Pakis and the Chinese.

Jens Holm

I see none of that. But I so understand sales improve by a free try.

Indian jet fighters cant fly F35 without being in USA for a period.

Great Khan

Great Khan think Indian need toilet first.


Great khan needs to save himself from a US drone strike

Jens Holm

They didnt stop. They have been off and on since 1948.

For the moment it seemes Russia has declined the Iranian presense as well as the onelegged Hesbollas are home making more babies.

Its more like “break” in boxing to me.

Lone Ranger

By the way, conventional stealth is a bit overrated. Russian, Chinese and Dutch radars can easily detect them. Yes I said Dutch :) The RQ-170 that Iran stole was probably more stealthy than the Flop-35 and Iran doesnt have the latest cutting edge stuff either…


I think we need to make as many stealth drones as we can, the F35 is a good plane Ranger but it’s too expensive.

Lone Ranger

I agree. The price listed publicly is not even close to a fully loaded combat ready one.

AM Hants

Is that the one the bird took down?


No such incident happened.

AM Hants

Oh, was that because the bird just happened to be one of the old S-200 systems that Syria were using at the time? How long did Israel have the F35 that ended up a write-off?


Only one F16 was shot down, I don’t know what bird or S200 you talk about. If you have a proof of a downed jet other than the F16, then show it.

AM Hants

It is easy to find and was widely reported and laughed at.

rightiswrong rightiswrong

From inside Lebanon is what you mean you coward.

Jens Holm

REad again. He says their missiles reach among the Syri asses

Jens Holm

Yearrrh, we all are retarded accoding to You. I see very few examples. As usual You are on Your negative autopilot.

If Yours was true, we were collapse many ears ago.

Now even Hesbollah use dollars to support Trump:)

Lone Ranger

Thanks for confirmation Jens ? Its good that I can always count on you.

Jens Holm

You only cheat Yourself.

Lone Ranger



Putler ans Krakadil?

Lone Ranger

Look who’s talkin…lol.

cechas vodobenikov

not all retarded—I refer to you jenny…how much gas is in SA? LOL

AM Hants

Don’t Poland have to start paying back the numerous EU loans, that assisted her with the title of the largest EU Debtor nation, next year? Alongside having to pay the US for the luxury of housing nuclear missiles in the non-nuclear nation, together with US Forces?

What are Poland’s plans, with regards the Lublin Triangle and trying to entice all the old Soviet members, except Russia, into the web?

Jens Holm

Those areas all are forced to be devastaing communists by Stalin and Hitler, so they for good reasons all the way west of Berling see themself as prisoners and not “members”.

Belarus and east of that WAS POLAND again after 1919 until they were destroyed in war again by many ears of pest and cholera.

Secondly You repeat and repeat about Polish and Western and Nato as if we were You.

We are not. We are the ones which has big GDPs with downs too – But we has not collapsed Ourself.

And You deny any positive aspect for the citicens in Poland in this. Number one is, that money for Poland is not Yours, so its non of You business.

Do You really think we should repair or implement Your systems, which also dont understand loans as they are used by us.

If soemthing goes wrong according loans, we will help POland too. But they also are memebers and responsible by Our treaty. Its not a freedom to spend. It has to be responsible as well.

And the Lublin triangle just say You know nothing of the past. 20 new and regained countries also has friendshipmrelations to Nato by positive relations.

They unite, because they will be safe again and fx the Baltic sea again can be a trade and culturel zone with Finland, sweden, Germany and the rest of the worls. And they are welcome.

AM Hants

Poland, remind me how long did they hold onto their independence, when they eventually got it back in 1919?

As if we were you????????????

Have you been neutered Jens, as that is the only way you would end up the same gender as moi?

Poland Big GDPS???????? Remind me, but, is Poland a debtor nation? Yes or no? Did they manage to get rid of the apples, Russia refused to purchase?

That money for Poland is not mine, so it is none of my business?

Do believe it is the business of the EU tax payers, as if not for them, Poland would not have received it.

“Lublin Triangle and I know nothing of the past 20 new and regained countries also has friendship relations to Nato by positive relations”???????? Sorry can you translate?

So if all the Soviet Members, excluding Russia and including Finland unite, under Poland, they will all be safe again? Remind me, but, when were they not safe? Remind me, but, what can Poland offer them, with regards safety and colonisation?

Ralph London

AM, Ollie’s back – 2 articles today.

AM Hants

Brilliant. Have been checking daily, but, did not have time today. Must admit, I was getting worried that something had happened, owing to those that do not like the site. Will go and check it out, as I do genuinely like the site. Thanks Ralph for letting me know.

cechas vodobenikov

your farcical stupidity amuses us jenny

Jens Holm

We are not subsidizing but investing in the Poland plundered by the Neocolonialists in Moscow.

Nato and EU are 2 very different thing as well as they and we decide, what the replacements has to be.

The economical investents for Poland seemes to pay off well, they do improve their production. Its also very important for them, that Poles are free to work in the whoe EU with few restrictions. Those many send money home, because they work.

When it started Poland has a very big hidden unimployment and many jobs were very low paid ones.

And it do spread out. We by that give many jobs in Poland to mainly Belarissians and Ukrainians, which situation is even worse. We in small scale also see Poles returning home, because new kind of jobs replace the old ones or has never been there before.

Im no expert in jets, but as I see it the Eurofighter is very semilar and equal to the Mig29 they already have. So it makes sense to replace lower then that level with the F35, which is a generation above that.

Its true its very expensive. I think I can follow that part. I am for the danish airforce during a period should not replace all Our F16s. Instead I would have prefared we ordered less of them and good drones for the rest – and see.

We dont know the need for Jets are. We know drones rapisly seemes to devellop and can replace many airjobs well.

Fxwe have Greenland. Its less expensive to have drones in places like that in 24/7 or something. We also dont have to rescue crews but only loose drones. And drones can be armed and take more and more kinds of jobs.

Servet Köseoğlu

Funny…speaking of Poland’s air-force but not mentioning any single missiles Poland air force is using or intending to use xD


Usa always win when it comes to deals with NATO partners. Same F16 junk that was sold to Poland and Turkey…… ,,great” deals

Jens Holm

The F16 are one of the best airplanes ever made. More then 4500 are build.

Another very good thing is, that it all the way – here – has important parts outsourced to us, whcih has given us own jobs for it.

It also was connected in USA trade as “I f We buy for a billion in USA, they buy for a bilion here too”. And it has been like that. By that the price has a very big positive effect too.


Only in Communism strikung a goid deal is considered a sin, in Capitalism we have the ‘win-win’ . You are too poor to understand you can earn without stealing.

Jens Holm

Its almost funny so many hostile ones tell the F35 is too expensive. But thats already paid.

After that You usually has the production period, where the price is about how many, which actually is made and often the price goes down.

cechas vodobenikov

Jenny is the expert on polishing the colonial CIA apple—how many Danes does it require to change a lightbulb?

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