We are pleased to announce that a report on the implementation of the F-16 multi-role aircraft in the Polish Air Force has been published on our website. An important event initiating the development of the report was the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in February 2022. This was an alarming signal to Europe, confirming that peace in our region of the world is not guaranteed. Modernization of the Polish Armed Forces is therefore becoming essential to preserve the country’s security. One of the key modernization programs is the introduction of F-16 aircraft into service in the Polish army, but this process requires deep analysis and recommendations.

The report has nine chapters. The first is “Modernization of the Polish Armed Forces as a Priority,” which emphasizes the need to increase spending on modernization of the Polish Army as a positive step toward improving the country’s security. However, this process requires a comprehensive analysis, not only in terms of technology, but also infrastructure, training, and economic impact. The second chapter deals with “Analysis of the F-16 Program.” The report examines in detail the process of deploying the F-16, which is now the Air Force’s primary equipment. The successes, challenges and failures of the introduction of this aircraft are discussed, and specific recommendations are made to improve the process of deploying the new equipment. The third chapter refers to “Formal and legal considerations.” It discusses the complicated process of introducing weapon systems to the F-16, which required a solid formal and legal basis. The key issue is to guarantee stable financing regardless of the results of the next parliamentary elections . The model for legally securing the F-16 program is analyzed here, which, despite some delays, is an example of successful implementation. The fourth chapter is “The preparation stage for the acquisition of armaments.” It was based on an analysis of equipment requirements, especially for non-standard configurations, which was key to avoiding delays and operational problems. An example is the delay in the delivery of the AIDEWS system in the F-16 program. Part five, “Life cycle of weapon systems,” discusses the analysis of the life cycle of equipment, periodic upgrades and availability of spare parts, which is essential for maintaining tactical-technical parameters. It is advisable to take into account the evolution of threats and aging of equipment. Chapter six, “Pilot Training System,” discusses the process of deploying new aircraft, such as the FA-50 and F-35, which requires the development of an effective pilot training system. The proposal to establish a military F-16 pilot training center based on the 31st Tactical Air Base is presented as an effective solution. “Availability of Technical Personnel” is the seventh section, which cites problems with the availability of technical personnel identified in the context of the F-16 program. The involvement of specialized third-party companies can improve the efficiency of equipment maintenance while supporting personnel training. In turn, the eighth chapter, “Participation of the Polish Defense Industry,” referred to the analysis of the participation of the Polish defense industry in the F-16 program, pointing out the limitations of the Foreign Military Sales procedure. It recommended increasing economic benefits through the use of offsets and industrial cooperation. The last section was titled “The Spillover Effect.” It refers to multibillion-dollar modernization programs that can generate the spillover effect and affect the development of various civilian industries. An example of effective international cooperation is industrial cooperation discussed using the example of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The analysis of the F-16 program provides the basis for a broader reflection on the modernization process of the Polish Armed Forces. The recommendations of the experts indicate the need for a comprehensive approach, (taking into account various aspects, from technical to economic), to the problem of effective and sustainable improvement of the country’s security.

Numerous aviation specialists, including Alioth Foundation experts, took part in the work on the report. We warmly encourage you to read the publication.

Photo: own photo taken by the Alioth Foundation team.