Procurement: February 21, 2002


Poland is still trying to find a creative way to buy new fighters. The original idea was 16 used aircraft and 32 new ones, but this never happened. Another idea was to buy 44 new aircraft, but they cannot find a supplier who will basically trade aircraft for Polish goods and give the Poles millions of dollars worth of new technology in the process. The latest idea is to provide them 48 used F-16As (from Belgium, Norway, and the US) at a very cheap lease rate in exchange for promising to buy F-35s starting in 2014 (when the old F-16As wear out). The Poles have evaluated every aircraft on the market. They found that the Eurofighter Typhoon offered very little more performance compared to old F-16s, but cost more than new F-35s due to the shorter production run. The Poles found the French Rafale to be almost as good as the F-35 but much more expensive (again, due to the shorter production run).--Stephen V Cole


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