THE POLISH AIR force is to retire 30 Mikoyan MiG-21PFM Fishbed Fs by the end of 1996, although its 60 MiG-21M Fishbed Js are to be retained until replacement fighters are purchased.

The Fishbed Fs have been in service for 30 years and are now flown by the 3rd fighter regiment, based in Poznan.

The air force has about 25 MiG-21Rs Fishbed Hs, which will also be phased out around the end of the century, air force sources say.

It is understood that the air force intends to retain some of its 80 Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters, possibly until around 2010. The oldest aircraft are being withdrawn gradually from service, however.

The air force will retain its 22 Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum As. These will be supplemented by the purchase of up to 100 new fighters. Sources say that plans also include a 50-strong trainer fleet, plus a small number of transport aircraft.

The cutbacks are part of a Polish air force reorganisation, cutting aircraft numbers by one-third.

Source: Flight International