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Poland - Air Force Modernization

During 1989-1990 Poland acquired its first twelve MiG-29s. These aircraft still remain in service at the 1st Tactical Air Squadron in Minsk Mazowiecki. By 1992 the four regiments of ground-attack fighters totaled twenty Su-20 and 104 Su-22 fighters supplied by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. For reconnaissance, the ground-attack regiments had twenty-four MiG-17 and eight Su-20 airplanes.

Air combat forces were divided into eight regiments equipped with 221 MiG-21/U fighters, whose equivalents were long ago withdrawn from service in the West; thirty-seven more advanced variable wing-geometry MiG-23MF fighters; and nine MiG-29 fighters top-of-the-line Soviet aircraft whose delivery was curtailed in late 1990. Air combat forces utilized twenty-four MiG-21RU reconnaissance aircraft.

In 1996 The Polish Air and Air Defence Forces traded its eleven PZL W-3 helicopters for ten Czech MiG-29s. In addition, twenty three MiG-29 were purchased from the German Luftwaffe in 2004. Because of the poor condition of these aircraft, only fourteen of them were directed to service. However, these airplanes had been modernized to NATO ICAO-I and ICAO-II standards and possess the capability to carry external fuel tanks. These MiG-29s are stationed at the 41st Tactical Air Squadron in Malbork.

The Su-22 is a Russian fighter-bomber aircraft used extensively by the former Warsaw Pact Nations, in the Middle East, Libya, Vietnam, Peru and Angola. It features a single Lyulka AL-21 F-3 jet engine and variable wing geometry (+28 / +68). The main air intake is positioned at the aircraft's nose. The Su-22 is a medium range fighter-bomber, designed to provide air support for ground troops as well as to counteract air threats. Forty eight Su-22M4 remain in service in the Polish Air Forces. Acquired in the mid-1980s, they are located at the 7th, 8th and 40th Tactical Air Squadrons. There is option to extend the lifetime of Su-22 and keep them operational until 2020-2022.

In 1992 the air force had two transport regiments equipped with ten AN-2 single-engine transports, one AN- 12 four-turboprop general transport, eleven AN-26 two-turboprop short-haul transports, ten Yak-40 short-haul, three-turbofan jet transports, one Tu-154 long-range three-turbofan jet transport, three 11-14 pistonengine light transports, four Mi-8 helicopters, and one Bell 412 helicopter.

Polish helicopter attack forces were organized in three regiments in 1992. Altogether the regiments had thirty Mi-24, 130 Mi-2, and twenty-one Mi-8 assault helicopters. Of that component, the Mi-2 and Mi-8 were designed in the 1960s and the Mi-24 in the early 1970s. Eighteen Su-22 fighters were used for training. The Polish armed forces stored a large number of redundant or outmoded fighter airplanes and began selling them to Western collectors in the early 1990s. In storage in 1992 were forty MiG-21s and variants of that model, twenty-four MiG-17s, and twenty-two MiG-15 U7s.

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Page last modified: 28-03-2017 18:36:34 ZULU