Supercruise Aviation - Article
Polish Air Force, going into the 21e century
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For most of its 90 years history, the Polish Air Force was under the influents of the Soviet Union. After the Second World War, it became part of the states witch belong to the East European Union, witch where heavenly controlled by the Soviet Union.

There for, most the airplanes where from Soviet origin. But not all airplanes came from the Soviet Union, because Poland has also its own aviation industry.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Polish Air Force got the opportunity to look for there equipment from other countries. For there newest fighter/bomber airplanes, the decision was made to buy the F-16C/D block 52, the most modern F-16 at the time. In 2006 the first batch F-16 where delivered to Poland and they where station at Poznan.

The transient to the F-16

The transient from the MiG-21 to the F-16 started in 2003 at the air base in Poznan. From that time the operations with the MiG-21 where stopped, but the first F-16 did not arrive at the base until 2006. In the time between 2003 and 2006 the pilots got there training.

At this moment (May 2009) there are at Poznan 21 qualified F-16 pilots. At the other air base there are 11 pilots. 10 pilots are in America for there training. Not only the pilots had to change, also the air bases had to change. These changes began in 2005 and included new landing systems, new hangers and building for supporting the F-16’s operations.

The last of the MiG fighters

At the end of the 1980’s the Polish Air Force got there 3e generation fighters, the MiG-29. In those days the MiG-29 was very good fighter, but now after more then 25 years, it is sowing his age. The aircraft have been given some new avionics to enable them to operate in Western airspace.

Poland purchased 12 (9 MiG-29 and 3 MiG-29UB), directly from the Soviet Union. Then in 1993, Poland acquired 10 ex-Czech aircraft (9 MiG-29 and 1 MiG-29UB). In August 2004, Germany delivered to Poland the last of the operational MiG-29s it inherited from the German Democratic Republic. Germany delivered 23 aircraft, raising the number of MiG-29 aircraft to 45.

From these 45 MiG-29s, 13 MiG-29s and 4 MiG-29UBs are based at Mińsk Mazowiecki in the 1st squadron. At the base Malbork in the 41 squadron, there are 5 MiG-29s, 8 MiG-29G and 3 MiG-29GT. The last 2 types are the formely Germany fighters.

Su-22M-4 Fitter K, still going strong

In 1984 Polish AF bought 90 Su-22M-4s and 20 Su-22UM-3Ks as a replacement for Lim-6, Lim-6bis and Su-20 which were used by fighter-bomber units. The aircraft were delivered to Poland and equipped 4 squadrons: 6 squadron in Pila, 8 squadron in Miroslawiec, 40 squadron and the 7 squadron (fighter-bomber and reconnaissance unit) in Świdwin. Currently approximately 48 Fitter Ks form an essential part of Polish Air Force strike force and they are to be retained until 2012.

The VIP fleet

The Polish Air Force has special squadron that provides transport for the president, government and representatives of supreme civilian and military authorities, both domestic and foreign flights. This is the 36 SPLT (Special Airlift Regiment). Most of the airplanes and helicopters from this squadron have a white and red color scheme, so they are easy recognizable and have a less military look. This is also easier for flights abroad. The squadron is bases at Warsaw Okecie international airport.

Text en photo's by François van Riel