UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The United States said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell Poland 32 F-35 stealth fighters worth $ 6.5 billion in a deal that could stoke tension with Moscow.
The agreement mandates the sale of 32 fighter jets manufactured by the US Lockheed Martin Group and 33 F-135 reactors by Pratt and Whitney, as well as the weapons and navigation systems needed, the State Department said in a statement.
By completing the order for Warsaw, which was announced in June for Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Washington, the United States wants to “provide a key ally in the most advanced NATO fighter in the world,” a State Department official said.
The State Department officially informed Congress of the administration’s intention to make the sale. The deputies have 30 days to appeal, which has not happened for decades.
The F-35s will replace the Polish Air Force’s MiG-29 and S-22 fighter jets “without affecting the balance of power in the region,” the statement said.
NATO has strengthened its defense capabilities along its eastern front after Russia annexed Crimea and Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian conflict.
The reinforcements have been deployed in the three Baltic states and Poland, and NATO is taking measures to improve its response capacity in the event of an incursion.
The United States has excluded Turkey, another NATO member, from the F-35 fighter planes for buying Russia’s S-400 defense system.
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