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Poland - Air Force

Polish Air Force's primary task is the national airspace defense. The Polish Air Force is the functional element of the national defense system, integrated with NATO and European joint civilian-military air defense systems. The selected Air Force units are capable to participate in allied operations out of the polish territory. Overall Command and Control of the Polish Air Force is within competences of the Air Force Command, located in Warsaw. Its organizational structure consists of two major divisions: Air Force Chief of Staff Division, responsible for planning, reconnaissance and electronic warfare issues, command & control, communications, and personnel. Air Force Training Division, responsible for organization and methodical preparedness of the educational process in combat, tactical and flight training of the Air Force personnel. Moreover, the Training Division conducts the entire air defense activities, participates in structural organization of the national and allied exercises. The Training Division consists of Air Force, Ground Based Air Defense Forces and Radar Forces training elements.

Polish Air Force consist of three major components:

  1. Air Force, responsible for flying units activities. They have a decisive impact on effectiveness of the Poland?s territory defense. The Air Force also provides a training capabilities for all pilots and flight support personnel of entire polish military aviation (Land Forces and Navy aviation). The Air Force combines fighter squadrons, fighter-bomber squadrons and reconnaissance squadrons equipped with F-16, Mig-29 and Su-22 combat aircraft. Air Force's primary tasks are: defense of polish airspace, elimination of air, ground and naval targets and conduct of air reconnaissance. In 2009 the Air Forces were reorganized into four Air Wings: the 1st and 2nd Tactical Air Wing, the 3rd Airlift Wing and the 4th Flight Training Wing.
  2. Ground Based Air Defense Forces (GBAD Forces), assigned to prevent hostile air assault as well as enitre Polish Armed Forces air defense and defense of the selected stationary objects and zones. GBAD Forces are structurally organized in two air defense brigades and two independnt air defense regiments, equipped with a SA-3 (Newa), SA-4 (Krug), SA-5 (Wega) and anti-aircraft artillery systems. To ensure its units protection, GBAD Forces utilizes MANPADS-class systems (SA-7 Strzala-2 and polish-developed Grom SHORAD system).
  3. Radar Forces (Air Surveillance And Control Systems), assigned to provide constant radar reconnaissance and radar support of the Air Force. As a part of NATO radar reconnaissance network, the Radar Forces provides an air situation picture (RAP - Recognized Air Picture) over the polish and its neighborhoods territory. The selected Radar Forces units provide radar reconnaissance by constant airspace surveillance to support Air Forces and GBAD Forces combat activities.
The Polish Air Force educates its personnel in key areas: flight, radar and air-defense specializations in the Polish Air Force Academy at Deblin and two NCO Schools (Deblin, Koszalin).

In 1992 a high military priority was establishing an air defense system based on existing assets of the air and air defense forces. Within that context, early warning and force integration were the most immediate problems. Resistance to enemy fire and maneuverability were rated as poor by Polish military experts. Restructuring plans called for one air defense corps in each of the four military districts, each corps having air intercept and rocket forces. Combined manpower was projected at 50,000.

In 1992 some 83,000 personnel, including 47,000 conscripts, served in the Polish air and air defense forces [ Dowodztwo Wojsk Lotniczych Obrony Powietrznej - Polish Air Defense Force Headquarters)]. Active combat aircraft numbered 423, with an additional eighty-six in storage awaiting sale, and thirty-one attack helicopters. The forces were divided into two air divisions. The four regiments of groundattack 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 Su20 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 MiG29 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 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 Il-14 piston-engine 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 MiG21s and variants of that model, twenty-four MiG-17s, and twentytwo MiG-15 U7s.

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Page last modified: 08-03-2017 19:31:42 ZULU