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Poland signs $4.6bn contract for US fighter jets

EPA/JIM HOLLANDER
An US pilot taxis one of two F-35 Adir stealth jet fighters as they land at the Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev desert, south of Beersheba, Israel, 12 December 2016. Two F-35 jets, nicknamed Adir or 'Mighty' are part of Israel's plans to acquire 50 planes by 2022.

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Poland signed a $4.6 billion deal with the United States for the purchase of 32 of its advanced F-35 fighter jets. The deal was signed by defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak and the US envoy to the country, Georgette Mosbacher, on 31 January at the Polish air force academy in Deblin.
The country’s president Andrzej Duda said it was an “exceptionally important day for Poland’s air force and for the security of Poland and of our part of Europe”. Poland’s strengthened relations with the US come at a time of increased Russian military activity.
Opposition politicians have criticized the purchase as too expensive. Recently, Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki said his country aims to create stronger ties with the US, and condemned the rise of anti-Americanisam in the European Union.
The delivery of the 32 F-35A multi-role combat aircraft is expected between 2024 and 2030. Poland will be the 10th NATO member to fly F-35 fighters.
Poland requested acquisition of the aircraft in May, with consent issued by the Department of State and by the US Congress. The country’s air force already has around 50 U.S. F-16 fighter jets. The stealth aircraft will replace Poland’s fleet of 28 MiG-29 jet fighter aircrafts, which were designed in the Soviet Union.

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