Polish F-16 jets are about to receive additional air-to-air armament, including the AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles.
Bartosz Kownacki, Polish Deputy Minister of Defence, has received Letters of Acceptance concerning the acquisition of air-to-air missiles by Poland for the F-16 jets. The documents are related to the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Vice-Minister Kownacki received the documents related to acquisition of the air-to-air missiles simultaneously with another LOA, pertaining to the AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles.
So far, no details, related to procurement of the air-to-air armament for the Polish F-16 aircraft, have been disclosed. We know though that back in 2012 the US State Department agreed to a delivery of a wide package of armament, equipment and support for the Polish Vipers, including 65 AIM-120 C-7 AMRAAM missiles and 933 AIM-9X-2 Block II Sidewinders, along with an air-to-ground armament package, complemented with relevant support and auxiliary equipment.
The agreement concerning the acquisition of the AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles is expected to be signed by the end of this year, similarly to the one covering the procurement of the JASSM-ER weapons system. It shall be noted that recently, steps have been taken to significantly expand the ordnance set available for the Polish F-16s. At the end of 2014, AGM-158A JASSM missiles were contracted, along with a mid life upgrade for the fighters.
In the second half of this year, procurement initiatives were initiated, the aim of which is to acquire Paveway and JDAM guided bomb units. Moreover, a tender has been concluded, related to acquisition of training ordnance: inert guided bombs and 20 mm rounds for the Falcon’s Vulcan cannon. The ammunition will be manufactured at the Mesko facility, in Poland.
Poland is also willing to acquire the JASSM-ER cruise missiles, with their range exceeding 900 kilometres. When it comes to the air-to-air armament, originally, along with 48 F-16C/D Block 52+ jets, Poland acquired the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block I and AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM missiles.