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The final assembly of the first Polish F-35A

The American company Lockheed Martin announced that the first of the 32 future Polish multi-role F-35A Lightning II aircraft has been placed on the final assembly line at the FACO facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

On Monday, April 29, 2024, the American company Lockheed Martin announced that the first of the 32 future Polish multi-role F-35A Lightning II aircraft has been placed on the final assembly line (Final Assembly and Check-Out, FACO) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photos: Lockheed Martin

In early April, the first F-35A with serial number AZ-01 was lifted by a crane from the electronic assembly station, where the front and rear fuselage sections were connected to the central fuselage keel. The aircraft will now move to the final assembly phase, during which control surfaces will be integrated, as well as other onboard equipment systems, and the Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine will be installed.

The aircraft was also placed for the first time loaded on its landing gear, which, as the manufacturer informs, is a significant milestone on the over one-kilometer final assembly line at the FACO Fort Worth.

The center wing assembly was delivered from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facilities in Marietta, Georgia, which was first presented on April 12, 2023, during the visit of then-Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

This unit will be officially transferred to the Polish Air Force later this year (previously planned for mid-2024), and along with five more, according to reports from the American newspaper Arkansas Business on April 25, it will be sent to the Ebbing Air Base of the Arkansas National Guard in Fort Smith, where the first Polish soldiers will begin training on the new aircraft in the fall.

In total, 24 pilots and 90 technical personnel members will be trained. Polish pilots will undergo instructor-level training in Ebbing, enabling subsequent aviators to be trained in Poland at the Integrated Training Center, which will feature eight full mission simulators.

The day before, on April 28, the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Wiesław Kukuła, confirmed in a post on the social media platform X that Polish F-35A Lightning II aircraft will receive a low-visibility, low-visibility gray-scale livery.

Meanwhile, today marks the end of the competition for the name of the Polish F-35A, organized by the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, and among nearly 800 proposals, the most frequently mentioned were: Halny (Polish Highland Wind), Husarz (Winged Hussar), Harpia (Harpy), Dracarys, and Duch (Ghost).

Poland will receive 32 F-35A aircraft in the latest Block 4 configuration and Technical Refresh 3 (TR3) equipment version, as part of the G2G agreement dated January 31, 2020, valued at 4.6 billion USD/17.9 billion PLN.

In turn, the arrival of the first aircraft to the country is expected between 2025 and 2026, followed by the formation of the first squadron at the 32nd Air Base in Łask. The second squadron will be formed in 2030 at the 21st Tactical Air Base in Świdwin.

Recently, Poland has received approvals for the purchase of armaments, including for the new aircraft: on April 24, extended-range anti-radiation missiles Northrop Grumman AGM-88G AARGM-ER, while on March 12, AGM-158B-2 JASSM-ER cruise missiles, medium-range AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles, and short-range AIM-9X Tactical Sidewinder Block II missiles.


The General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces announced that the Polish F-35s will be named Husarz:

… and replaced wrong picture of the aircraft with the correct one.

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