The Polish Defense Ministry “signed” that it is not capable of producing components to support the combat capability of Soviet-made aircraft
Poland ordered the delivery of 48 FA-50 combat training aircraft to South Korea, of which the first 12 should be delivered already in the first half of 2023, and the service center for their maintenance should be built by 2026.
By the way, this contract will not cost a penny. According to unofficial data, it is about 1.9-2.4 billion dollars without taking into account the costs of infrastructure, logistics and training. That is, 40-50 million dollars for one FA-50
In particular, the publication hopes that it is about the latest modernization of the FA-50 Block 20, which has an expanded list of weapons. It is about equipping it with AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles and Naval and Joint Strike Missile cruise missiles. In addition, the fighter should receive a full-fledged modern AN/APG-83 radar, which is installed on modern versions of the F-16 and is capable of detecting targets at a distance of up to 370 km.
The fact is that one flight hour of the FA-50 costs much less than that of full-fledged fighters. In particular, the cost per flight hour of the Korean aircraft is 5 times less than the F-16 and 6-7 times less than the F-35. Moreover, the localization of its production will significantly reduce the total amount that must be spent on the maintenance of the FA-50 fleet.
Poland chose the FA-50, including in order to quickly replace Soviet-made combat aircraft of the MiG-29 and Su-22 types. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said this in an interview with the Polish portal Defence24.
Blaszczak explained the choice of the South Korean FA-50 as follows. The military threat from the Russian Federation turned out to be so great that Poland has to deal with the modernization of its army here and now, without waiting for the perspective of 10-20 years.
In turn, the Polish military faced the fact that they would no longer be able to buy components for their old Su-22 and MiG-29 from the Russians. And the attempt to independently produce spare parts ended unsuccessfully, in particular, with the fall of the MiG-29 near the Polish city of Paslenk.
It is known that the South Korean FA-50 was developed on the basis of the F-16. And the degree of unification of these aircraft is so high that literally after a few hours of training flights on the FA-50, the pilot can immediately transfer to the F-16.
It would be more logical to immediately buy F-16 in the USA. But, as Blaszczak complains, the manufacturer Lockheed Martin is now more focused on the F-35 production program, which in particular is already leading to delays on already existing contracts for the F-16.
Accordingly, Poland decided that it is better to buy South Korean FA-50s that can be manufactured and delivered in the shortest possible time. And in order to strengthen the capabilities of its Air Force, Poland decided to take Block 20 FA-50, which can use, in particular, AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense of Poland does not reject the option of buying additional F-16 and F-35. But at the same time, it will also monitor the success of the South Korean KF-21 program to create a 5th generation fighter.