E-2D Hawkeye, heavy fighters…: the future of the Polish air forces is revealed

In order to finalize their transformation, the Polish air forces are interested in the E-2D Hawkeye for advanced aerial surveillance, as well as the F-15EX, Typhoon and Boramae to constitute the two squadrons which it lacks. However, these stated ambitions face very real constraints in terms of budget, HR and efficiency.

In recent months, not a week has gone by without the Polish authorities announcing the arrival of a major new arms program. In order to modernize and expand its armies in the face of the Russian threat, Warsaw has, in fact, undertaken to considerably increase its investments, aiming to achieve a defense effort of 4% of GDP in the years to come.

So far, most of the announcements have focused on the recapitalization of the Polish Army, with the acquisition of 1 M250A1 Abrams and K2 Black tanks Panther, over 2 Borsuk and CBWP infantry fighting vehicles.

Polish air combat will receive 96 AH64E Apache attack helicopters and 32 AW149s, while the 27 Polish artillery squadrons will be equipped with almost 800 HIMARS and K239 Chunmoo systems and as many 155 mm Krab and K9 Thunder self-propelled guns.

In the naval field, Warsaw launched the construction of Mièçznick class frigates, and restarted a new version of the ORKA program to acquire a submarine fleet. In the anti-aircraft field, the Polish armies will have 8 Patriot PAC-3 batteries and 22 Pilica+ anti-aircraft batteries equipped with the short and medium range CAMM-ER missile. Even space has been addressed, with the order from the French Airbus DS for two military reconnaissance satellites.

FA-50 Poland
The first of the Polish FA-50s was delivered a few weeks ago, just a year after the order was signed by Warsaw.

Polish Air Forces Today

Paradoxically, air power had, until now, been more or less put aside by Warsaw, except through the acquisition of 48 South Korean FA-50 light fighters. It is true that this was the area that had previously been prioritized, notably with the order for 32 F-35A Lighting 2s in 2019, to reinforce the 48 F-16 C/Ds ordered at the start of the 2010s.

Furthermore, Warsaw knows that air power is undoubtedly NATO's strong point against Russia, and that it can be easily and quickly mobilized by the European allies in the event of a conflict with Moscow, unlike air forces. terrestrial.

However, it seems that Warsaw is now considering bringing its air forces up to the level of the effort made in the land and naval domain. Already, a few weeks ago, Poland and Sweden agreed to acquire 2 used Saab 340 forward air control planes.

These devices, of the Awacs type, make it possible to detect enemy planes and missiles, and to coordinate the action of fighter aviation and air defense to oppose them. To date, in Europe, only three countries have this type of capacity of their own: France, Great Britain and Sweden.

The E-2D Hawkeye interests Warsaw

However, the Saab 340 acquired by Warsaw for €52 million only represents a waiting solution. Indeed, Poland would have undertaken to negotiate, with the American Northrop-Grumman, the acquisition of E-2D Hawkeye, to ensure this mission in the future.

E-2D Hawkeye refueled in flight by an MQ-25 Stingray
One of the main evolutions of the E-2D Hawkeye allows it to be refueled in flight, here by an MQ-25 Stingray drone

LOGO meta defense 70 Air superiority | Military alliances | Defense Analysis

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