The Polish air force's first batch of four Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds arrived at Poznan-Krzesiny airbase last week following a testing ferry flight from the USA. The aircraft - three Cs and one D - had to return to the USA from over the Atlantic Ocean on 6 November because of a radar system malfunction in one aircraft. The following day, two of the single-seat fighters experienced problems with their in-flight refuelling systems and had to refuel at Keflavik, Iceland and Royal Air Force Leuchars in Scotland.

The US Air Force says the minor refuelling system malfunctions can be repaired in Poland, but Polish defence ministry F-16 programme director Piotr Lukaszewicz says he is waiting for official information about the cause.

Poland will eventually have three squadrons of F-16s, with the 48-strong fleet to achieve full operational capability in 2012.

Washington has offered to donate to Poland nine ex-USAF Northrop T-38A Talons to support its F-16 training requirements for the next 20 years. Warsaw would be required to cover the cost of upgrading the aircraft to the T-38C standard - potentially $100 million. Poland currently plans to order a new advanced jet trainer by early 2009 to replace its obsolete PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskras.

Polish F-16 
© Bartosz Glowacki   
The first Polish F-16s made it to Poznan-Krzesiny despite problems

Source: Flight International