Poland to buy 48 KAI FA-50 jets to replace Soviet-era aircraft

Poland buy KAI FA50
RoKAF FA-50 light fighters.

Poland appears to be finalizing an agreement with South Korea to purchase dozens of KAI FA-50 light fighters to replace the Polish Air Force's MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Mariusz Blaszczak revealed in an interview with the weekly "Sieci" that they intend to purchase various South Korean weapons. These will include 48 FA-50 fighter jets, as well as 180 K2 Black Panter heavy tanks and more than 600 K9 155 mm howitzers.

"We are interested in purchasing three squadrons, which means 48 aircraft. The first should arrive in Poland next year. We are concluding the negotiations on this, we are close to the end. It will mark a leap forward in the combat capability of our armed force," Blaszczak said.

Poland has been looking for years for a suitable candidate to replace its aging fleet of Su-22M4 attack aircraft, operational since Soviet times, of which it still owns 32 units.

Leonardo's modern M-346FA light attack aircraft appeared to have been leading the competition for some time, especially as Poland has already acquired the advanced trainer variant of the type, but Warsaw's choice ultimately fell on the Korean jet.

Rumors say that the choice of the FA-50 is linked to its superior performance compared to other jets in the same category and to its commonality with the F-16 which is currently the backbone of the Polish Air Force's combat fleet. This would facilitate the transition of pilots between the two aircraft and would allow the use of the current infrastructures while rationalizing costs.

KAI recently teamed up with Lockheed Martin to boost FA-50 sales in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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