Poland Requests F-16 Weapons, Support
F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft serve as the backbone of Poland’s air force. In February 2012, the USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Poland’s official request for F-16 weapons, as well as a 5 year fleet support contract that includes associated equipment, parts, and training. They will be bought using the USA’s Foreign Military Sales process, and the requested items are expected to cost up to $447 million.
If a contract is negotiated after the 15-day FMS wait period for NATO members, the prime contractors are listed as Raytheon in Tucson, AZ and Waltham, MA; Boeing in St. Charles, MO; McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK; and United Technologies Corporation in Hartford, CT. Poland’s specific request includes:
- 93 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II short range air-air missiles. The most advanced current version from Raytheon.
- 4 CATM-9X-2 Captive Air Training Missiles, with no warhead or rocket motor
- 65 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). The most advanced version offered for export by Raytheon.
- 42 GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II 500-pound bombs from Raytheon, with dual GPS/laser guidance.
- 200 Laser JDAM bombs from Boeing, with dual GPS/laser guidance. The GBU-54 LJDAM uses 500 pound bombs, but the DSCA release says it’s the 2,000 pound bomb version. See below.
- 127 MK-82 general purpose 500 pound bombs
- 642 BLU-111 penetrator 500 pound bombs
- 80 BLU-117 penetrator 2,000 pound bombs
- 4 MK-84 Inert 2,000 pound bombs. Used for training, has a smoke spotting charge and weighting instead of explosives.
- 9 F-100-PW-229 Engine Core Modules from United Technologies
- 28 Night Vision Devices, plus 6 spare intensifier tubes
- 12 Autonomous Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (AAMI) P5 pods. These keep track of the plane’s position etc. in simulated combat exercises, for display, playback, and scoring at HQ.
- A Joint Mission Planning System.
- 5 years of follow-on support and sustainment services for Poland’s F-16 fleet, including spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, system overhauls and upgrades, personnel training and training equipment, and other U.S. Government and contractor technical support. It’s odd that F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin isn’t mentioned as a prime contractor, in light of this element.
Note that unguided bombs like the MK-84, BLU-117, etc. can still become guided weapons, and are designed to easily accept precision attack kits like JDAM, Paveway, etc.
The official request’s discrepancy with respect to Laser JDAMs led to an exchange with Boeing. Clarifying Poland’s request is obviously impossible, since Poland can’t even begin talking to them yet. What Boeing could say, was that:
“The GBU-56 Laser JDAM includes the 2,000-pound MK-84 warhead and has been developed by Boeing. Final certification flight testing is planned by the USAF on behalf of our international customers and is expected to be completed within the next 12-18 months… you’ll need to contact the Dept. of Defense or DCMA for clarification on whether they meant GBU-54 or GBU-56.”