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Poland signs for FA-50 combat aircraft

Poland has acquired 48 KAI FA-50 light combat aircraft from South Korea. (Janes/James Hardy)

Poland has signed for Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle aircraft to supplement its existing combat aviation forces.

Signed on 16 September, the deal comes about one-and-a-half months after Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak approved the plan in July as part of a wider bilateral defence procurement agreement with South Korea.

The first 12 FA-50 aircraft, to be designated FA-50PL in Polish service, will be delivered in mid-2023, with the remainder to follow according to an undisclosed timeline. Once in service, the 48 FA-50PLs will augment the Polish Air Force's existing 48 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 50+ Fighting Falcons.

With the FA-50PLs augmenting the F-16s, the service's 21 MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' and nearly 30 Sukhoi Su-22 ‘Fitter' Warsaw Pact-era aircraft are scheduled to be replaced by 32 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters under Poland's Harpia programme. Separately, Błaszczak has also touted the possibility of acquiring other advanced Western combat aircraft types, such as the Boeing F-15 Eagle and the KAI KF-21 Boramae.

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