The Polish Minister of Defence, Mariusz Blaszczak announced that the 32nd Air Base, located in Lask, has been selected as the preferred location for the first operational Polish F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.
The 32nd Air Base is a Polish Air Force base is one of the two bases where Poland’s F-16 fighters are stationed, the other being 31st Air Base. The goal is to have 16 fighters, operated by the 10th Tactical Squadron.
What’s more, a detachment of the U.S. Air Force has been permanently based at Łask since November 2012. Additional units rotate to the base periodically to conduct training exercises.
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The U.S. State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale of 32 F-35 fifth-generation fighters to Poland in September 2019 and the contract for the procurement of next generation fighter aircraft was signed on 31 January 2020.
As per the scope of this contract the delivery of the aircraft is scheduled to begin in 2024. The first aircraft in Poland is expected to arrive in the 2025-2026 timeframe, with the final F-35As to be delivered before 2030. The Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is scheduled for 2028.
As a result, Poland is to become the first user of the F-35s in the region, adding the aircraft to its fleet of 48 F-16 C/D Block 52+ fighters.