The US State Department said on Wednesday it had approved a proposed sale of 32 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets worth $6.5 billion to Poland. This deal comes as the latest in a series of major US military sales to the European country..
The sale would boost Poland’s contributions to NATO and reduce the country’s dependence on Russian equipment, replacing Poland’s MiG-29 and Su-22 fleet, a State Department official said in a statement.
The sale also includes 33 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines, electronic warfare, command and control, communications, navigation, and logistics systems, tools and test equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, and other support for the F-35.
The F-35 sale is also the latest in a series of major defense buys by Poland. In 2018, Poland agreed to buy 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket launchers for $414 million and signed a $4.7 billion deal for the Patriot missile system, the largest arms deal its history, according to Breaking Defense.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States has rolled out a “Buy American” plan that relaxed restrictions on sales and encouraged US officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the American weapons industry.
The process to sell F-35 to Poland started in April on the heels of removal of Turkey by US from the multinational F-35 program after Ankara said it would proceed in purchasing a Russian S-400 missile-defense system that NATO officials say is not compatible with the F-35.
(Reporting by Bryan Pietsch, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Jonathan Oatis for RT)