Poland gives its MiG-29s to the US and wants ‘interoperable aircraft’
WARSAW, ($1=4.46 Polish Zlotys) — US pressure on Poland has paid off. Finally, Warsaw will hand over to Washington its entire fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets, about thirty, paving the way for their subsequent transfer to the Ukrainian Air Force.
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland officially announced on March 8 that “it will immediately deploy and free of charge all its MiG-29 aircraft at Rammstein Air Force Base [in Germany] and put them into operation.” In return, “Poland asks the United States to provide us with used aircraft with the appropriate operational capabilities,” learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing InfoDefensa and the statement of the Polish government.
This culminated in a strategy that United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained just hours earlier that was being developed to get Soviet planes available to Ukraine.
Although the official note from the Polish Ministry does not mention the possibility of the MiG-29 eventually serving in Ukraine, it seems clear that this is the way to do it. The formula used does not allow the transfer to Kyiv to be made directly from Warsaw, thus overcoming the latter’s fear of Moscow’s reaction.
In fact, in addition to providing its entire MiG-29 fleet to the United States, “the Polish government is demanding that other NATO allies owning MiG-29s do the same,” the ministry said in a statement.
Slovakia and Bulgaria
Within NATO, Slovakia and Bulgaria also have planes that can be sent to Ukraine [Slovakia has a dozen MiG-29s and Bulgaria another 16]. So far, no one has shown interest in this, although Poland has not done so. In fact, Polish President Andrzej Duda himself went so far as to confirm last week that his country would not supply planes to Kyiv, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki insisted on Sunday that his government “will not send warplanes to Ukraine. its airports”, before recalling that we are already “helping significantly in many areas”.
In fact, with the maneuver now announced, the fighters could end up in the hands of Ukrainian forces without the Polish government transferring them, as it has said it will not.
Conditions for immediate purchase
Warsaw was already planning to replace its fleet of MiG-29 fighters with Western aircraft, especially after hostilities between Russia and Ukraine began in 2014. In this context, Poland agreed in early 2020 to purchase 32 F-35 fighter jets. from the fifth generation of the United States for more than 4 billion euros.
Given the need to make the change “immediately”, as stated in the official Polish note, the devices that the country “wants from the United States” are ready-to-use aircraft. To speed up the procedures, “Poland is ready to establish the conditions for the purchase of the aircraft immediately”, the statement concluded.
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