Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak celebrated in a public statement on Friday Congressional approval of the sale of 32 new F-35 fighter jets to Poland. “The US Congress has approved selling 32 new fifth-generation F-35 jets to Poland,” Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.
“This is one of the last steps prior to signing the contract, but this is not the end of our work yet. We will be conducting negotiations firmly in order to secure the best price,” the minister added.
The initial contract is worth $6.5 billion, however Poland has said it will begin negotiations to bring the price tag significantly lower, perhaps closer to what Belgium recently paid for the same number of F-35s — just over $4 billion.
The package includes 33 Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofans, as well as advanced communications, navigation, and logistics systems.
The deal, which has brought the scrutiny and condemnation of Moscow, comes amid a massive $48.5 billion Polish defense overhaul to greatly modernize the east European nation’s defenses, which currently is heavily stocked with ageing Soviet-era Su-22 and MiG-29 fighters.
Kongres USA wyraził zgodę na sprzedaż Polsce 32 najnowocześniejszych samolotów F-35. To jeden z ostatnich kroków przed zawarciem kontraktu, jednak nie koniec naszej pracy. Będziemy twardo negocjować, aby osiągnąć jak najkorzystniejszą cenę. pic.twitter.com/emTJ3dSstk
— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) September 27, 2019
Last year, President Trump slammed NATO members – demanding that they increase their defense spending targets to at least the 2% of GDP they previously committed to.
During his push, Trump held up Poland as a shining example of a country which has met its 2% goal, and has complimented its conservative President Andrze Duda who has repeatedly locked horns with EU leaders over various issues – most relating to mass migration and rule of law related problems.
The now fully approved F-35 sale comes also as efforts to establish a ‘Fort Trump’ US military base in Poland are underway, and after Trump and Duda finalized an agreement this week to send 1000 additional American troops to the large US allied country bordering Russia.