The Head of the Armament Inspectorate, Brigadier General Sławomir Szczepaniak, has signed the agreement related to procurement of AGM-158A JASSM missiles for the Polish Air Force.
The scope of the agreement primarily covers the delivery of 40 cruise missiles along with a modernization bundle for the F-16C/D jets, which would, inter alia, make them capable of using the JASSMs. Delivery of the missiles is to start in the period after mid-2016. Test firing of the JASSM missile from an F-16 equipped with the “Polish Modernization Bundle” is to also happen that year.
JASSM missiles for Poland will come from a batch which was initially ordered by the USAF. According to representatives of Lockheed Martin, the price of the missiles will be identical both for US and Polish customers. The value of the contract is estimated to be as much as USD 250 million, approximately 33% of which will cover the modernization costs related to the M6.5 upgrade bundle for the Polish F-16 jets.
Work to be carried out within the scope of the modernization programme includes implementation of upgrades of the ECM system, mission computers and data links. The F-16s will also be customized in a way that would let them use new types of armament. The modernization works will be realized in Poland. According to the MoD press release, work will be carried out “at the Air Force Base” beginning in the second half of 2016. Work is to be completed at a rate of 2 fighters per month. First two modernized F-16 are to gain their initial operating capability at the beginning of 2017.
The contract signing ceremony, which took place at the Polish Krzesiny AB, near Poznan, was attended by the deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, the MoD Secretary of State Czesław Mroczek, US Ambassador Stephen Mull and representatives of the Lockheed Martin company.
Purpose of the AGM-158A JASSM cruise missiles is to destroy ground targets at ranges of up to 370 km. They have been designed in accordance with stealth technology, to make it possible to avoid the enemy’s air-defence system. Besides US forces, until now, permissions to purchase JASSM have been granted to Poland, Australia and Finland.