The Polish air force is to permanently base one of its Airbus Military C-295 tactical transports in Afghanistan's Ghazni Province.

The decision follows Warsaw's agreement to extend its troop presence in the country as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

To be used for tasks including transport, airdrop and medical evacuation tasks, the C-295 will be drawn from the air force's 13th Air Transport Squadron. The deployment will also involve around 20 pilots and technicians.

 C-295 - Artur Weber Polish defence ministy
© Artur Weber/Polish defence ministry

Poland's air transport fleet received a major boost on 26 April, when the nation's second Lockheed Martin C-130E was delivered from the USA. The aircraft will be assigned to the 14th Air Transport Squadron at Powidz after the completion of technical acceptance work.

The air force is continuing to investigate the cause of a mishap involving a loaned C-130E, which was damaged in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Separately, the air force has deployed four RSK MiG-29s from its 1st Tactical Air Squadron to Siauliai air base in Lithuania, from where the fighters will provide NATO air policing cover for the Baltic states.

 Polish MiG-29s - Artur Weber Polish defence minist
© Artur Weber/Polish defence ministry

Warsaw had planned to send its new Lockheed F-16s to meet the commitment, but acting commander-in-chief of the air force operational command Lt Gen Slawomir Dygnatowski says this was abandoned due to "economic calculations".

Succeeding a French air force detachment of Dassault Mirage 2000s, the MiG-29s will provide quick reaction alert cover until 31 August.

Additional reporting by Grzegrorz Sobczak

Source: Flight International