Poland Confirms Korean FA-50 Fighters Will Replace Soviet-Supplied MiG-29s in Frontline Fleet

The Polish Ministry of National Defence had confirmed that new South Korean supplied FA-50PL lightweight fighters will be deployed to Minsk Mazowiecki Air Base, providing the latest of multiple indications that the aircraft will replace Soviet-supplied MiG-29s currently based there. Alongside orders for 32 F-35A fifth generation fighters, which are expected to replace Soviet Su-22 strike fighters in Polish service, the FA-50 will serve as a lighter complement and allow the Air Force to transition to a fully NATO-compatible fleet. The donation of MiG-29s to the Ukrainian Air Force, which has seen its own MiGs take heavy losses since the outbreak of war with Russia in February, has also been raised as a possibility.

The MiG-29 variants operated by Poland are increasingly considered obsolete today, with older engines, low composite airframe and a lack of phased array radars or active radar guided missiles which new variants benefit from - among several other missing features. The aircraft also have far higher operational costs than the FA-50, which will allow the Polish fleet to expand in numbers at a relatively conservative expense. 48 FA-50 fighters are expected to replace the 28 MiGs in service today. The FA-50 has far superior avionics to the 1980s aircraft, although its flight performance remains far inferior with even older MiG-29s being among the most manoeuvrable fighters in the world. Whether the new jets will be armed with beyond visual range air to air missiles, which has been raised as a possibility in South Korea in the past, remains uncertain. Poland has also selected Korean K2 tanks and K9 artillery pieces, which are both considered the most capable NATO-compatible weapons of their kind, to modernise its ground forces.



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