The Eurofighter consortium has made its debut appearance at Poland’s International Defence Industry Exhibition (MSPO) in Kielce, with the Typhoon being promoted as a potential replacement for the nation’s RSK MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-22M4 strike aircraft.
With sources suggesting that Poland’s defence ministry plans to upgrade some of its current assets, Eurofighter representatives say: “The price of the [Typhoon] aircraft, its servicing and maintenance costs during the next 30-40 years would be not higher than extending the life of ex-Soviet aircraft until 2028.”
A campaign to sell the Typhoon to Warsaw would be supported by EADS and Finmeccanica, which would each offer industrial partnerships and technology transfer. Poland could also access the training and logistics lessons learned by Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, plus export user Austria, sources say.
The Polish air force should retire the last of its remaining 48 Su-22s in 2011-12, but there have been suggestions that this could be extended until 2016. Their removal would leave a fighter gap between the service’s current 31 MiG-29s and 48 Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds, as the defence ministry has outlined a need to retain a strength of eight frontline squadrons equipped with 120 modern combat aircraft.
A planned acquisition of 16 advanced jet trainer/lead-in fighter trainers with some combat capabilities would only slightly narrow the capability gap.
The Typhoon is also being offered to other central European countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.