Poland Considers F-15EX for Air Superiority along with Eurofighter and KF-21  

As Boeing aggressively markets its advanced F-15EX fighter jet globally, Poland emerges as a potential major customer, considering the aircraft along with Eurofighter and KF-21 to bolster its air power and open doors for industrial collaboration

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

Boeing’s F-15EX fighter bomber (also known as Eagle II) is gaining popularity in the worldwide fighter bomber market. In February 2020, Israel signed a deal to buy a customized version of the F-15, named F-15IA. It is largely comparable to the features of the EX model. The United States Department of State approved the Indonesian request to acquire up to 36 cutting-edge aircraft in February 2022. The negotiations are ongoing.

Additionally, Boeing is actively pushing the fighters to India and Saudi Arabia. Poland has emerged as the next nation to indicate a strong interest in obtaining F-15EX.

Lockheed-Martin stated in May that the first F-35A “Husarz” fighter bombers, intended for Poland, would be completed at its Fort Worth facility in Texas by the upcoming summer. However, to train Polish pilots, these aircraft will remain in the United States, specifically at Fort Smith, Arkansas. 

“The implementation of the contract for the purchase of 32 F-35As is proceeding according to schedule,” a spokesperson for the Polish Ministry of Defense had previously stated to Defense News. This project is expected to be completed on schedule because it intends to replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-22 Fitter, some of which Poland gave to Ukraine. 

This order for the F-35A “Husarz” aircraft supplements the previous order for 48 F/A-50 “Golden Eagle” aircraft, which was notified to Korea Aerospace Industries [KAI] in 2022 and is already in the works. At least twelve aircraft have already been delivered to Poland. 

However, as explained by the Chief of Staff of the Polish Air Force, General Ireneusz Nowak, these two orders remain inadequate. “Our analysis shows that, given the current level of threat, Poland needs to have ten squadrons, totaling 160 aircraft. The 48 F-16 fighter-bombers, as well as the F-35A and F/A-50, constitute eight squadrons. Therefore, there are two squadrons that we would like to establish and equip in the future,” he had confided to the Polish Press Agency in May 2023.

Considering the importance of air superiority capabilities, several discussions have been held regarding the possibility of Poland placing an order for three different types of aircraft: the Boeing F-15 EX, the Eurofighter EF-2000/Typhoon, and the KF-21 Boramae, which is still in the development phase in South Korea. 

A decision favoring the Eurofighter consortium would bring the Polish Air Force closer to its British, Italian, and soon-to-be German counterparts as they operate—or are preparing to operate—both F-35s and EF-2000/Typhoons. Furthermore, Rome and London could also offer Warsaw participation in the 6th generation combat aircraft project Global Air Combat Programme (GCAP, formerly Tempest).

According to Rob Novotny, a Boeing representative, who was quoted by the Defence24 website of Poland, the F-15 EX is the leading candidate. 

“In early 2024, we discussed the F-15EX with representatives of the Armament Agency and the Polish Air Force. In April, we returned to discuss investment opportunities in Poland as well as cooperation with the Polish industry,” Mr. Novotny revealed.

According to Defence24, Boeing has initiated negotiations with Aircraft Military Factory No. 2 (WZL Nr 2) and the public defense group Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PSG). The American manufacturer would like to “identify new areas of cooperation” in case of an agreement regarding an F-15 EX purchase, “especially considering Polish industrial capabilities in production and logistics,” Novotny explained.

Like any other organization, he stated that Boeing is seeking opportunities to enhance its supply chain and industrial base. The company is receptive to a variety of potentialities. “But above all, we want to know what the Polish side wants. Technical support for the F-15, production of its components, and engineering work would certainly be an interesting proposition,” he added. 

Additionally, the Boeing representative took the opportunity to praise the F-15EX, placing particular emphasis on its “proven design,” novel attributes, and, most significantly, its functionalities. “When Iran launched 160 drones towards Israel, the F-15s shot down nearly half of them—70 of them,” he said.

Compared to previous versions, the F-15 EX is equipped with two new F110-GE-129 engines, fly-by-wire controls, a digital cockpit, an Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] radar APG-82(V)1, an IRST sensor, Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability (EPAWSS) electronic warfare suite, and an Advanced Display Core Processor-II (ADCP-II ) mission computer. Currently, it can carry up to 12 air-to-air missiles.

The F-15EX functions as a competent provisional measure to supplement the fighter fleet and supplant aging F-15C/D air superiority fighters while the US Air Force formulates its forthcoming NGAD fighter program. 

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