KIELCE, Poland — American defense company Lockheed Martin is vying for a contract to supply 32 F-35 fighter jets to Poland by offering to deliver new-generation Block 4 versions and ensuring that selected components for the jets are produced by Polish manufacturers.
“If Poland decides to buy the F-35, it will receive Block 4 aircraft. This version will include a new computer, additional weapons and systems, and it will be able to be fitted with six missiles instead of four,” Greg Ulmer, the vice president and general manager responsible for the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin, told Defense News at the MSPO defense industry show.
The company official said Polish defense industry players are already part of the aircraft’s global supply chain, and deliver components for F-35s.
“So far, we’ve delivered 425 F-35s, and we’re on track to deliver 131 this year. In 2018, we delivered 91 fighters; and in 2017, 66 fighters. The peak in deliveries is expected to come in 2024,” Ulmer said. “By 2030, we expect there will be 500 F-35s in Europe. Once Polish companies are approved as our supplier partners, they could make parts not only for the Polish aircraft, but also for those supplied to other countries, such as the U.S. or Japan.”
In May, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said his ministry sent a letter of request to the U.S. regarding Poland’s plan to acquire the F-35. Warsaw aims to replace its Air Force’s outdated, Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 jets with fifth-generation fighters.