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PZL Mielec will produce “essential components” of the F-16 aircraft

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PZL Mielec will produce essential components for the global F-16 program, informed the American company Lockheed Martin, owner of the Podkarpacie factory. Work will start in 2022 and will help maintain 200 jobs in Poland.

“PZL Mielec, a company belonging to Lockheed Martin and one of the longest operating aircraft manufacturers in Poland, will become a production partner of one of the most successful supersonic fighter construction programs in the world. From next year it will be preparing components and assemblies for the latest generation F-16 Block 70 / 72, while maintaining around 200 jobs, and around 60 new jobs will be created thanks to this initiative, “reads the press release published on Monday.

PZL Mielec will produce F-16 components

As emphasized, this event “represents a new and important milestone in the history of the PZL Mielec plant, which was recently involved in the production of jet aircraft over 20 years ago, when the last I-22 Iryda training aircraft went off the production line.”

The announcement announced that from next year, PZL Mielec will produce “rear fuselage, center fuselage, cockpit structure, side cockpit panel and front equipment compartment” for all F-16 fighters produced, later donating these aircraft components to the final Lockheed Martin assembly line at Greenville, South Carolina.

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– Today’s announcement emphasizes the commitment of PZL Mielec and increasing the industrial presence of Lockheed Martin in Poland, where we currently employ approximately 1,600 people and provide work for over 5,000 other people within the Polish supply chain – said Robert Orzyowski, Lockheed Martin director in Poland and Central Europe -Eastern.

PZL Mielec will produce essential components for the F-16 aircraftPress materials

He added that “Poland’s election of the F-35 opened the door to further development of cooperation and was a step towards today’s exciting announcement.”

“With orders already confirmed for F-16 Block 70/72 from Bahrain, Bulgaria, Slovakia and two other international customers, global interest in newly manufactured fighters and upgraded F-16Vs remains high. Poland has operated F-16s in its fleet for the last 15 years. years, and this summer it achieved a significant success in the form of 100,000 hours of flight time “- we read.

“In addition to the F-16, Poland will also purchase 32 F-35 fighters, the first of which will be delivered in 2024. Complementary capabilities and interoperability between both types of fighters serve to strengthen the capabilities of the Polish Air Force and enable partnership in the implementation of missions, training, equipment production and tactics with other NATO members “- recalled.

The F-16 multi-role aircraft

The concept of constructing a light fighter plane, which could also counter ground targets to a limited extent, appeared in the United States in the first half of the 1960s. In 1965, two study programs were started on the future combat aircraft. In 1972, General Dynamics and Northrop were awarded contracts to build prototypes for comparative trials. In the end, the XF-16, a General Dynamics proposal that was taken over by Lockheed Martin years later, won. The prototype first flew in 1974. Since then, a dozen or so versions of the F-16 have been created. These planes are also gradually modernized. Over the years, the design has evolved, ceasing to be primarily a fighter, and becoming a multi-role aircraft, i.e. capable of countering enemy aviation, targets on the ground and at sea, and performing reconnaissance tasks.

Poland decided to purchase 48 F-16 aircraft in Block 52+ version at the end of 2002. The supply contract as well as the financing, credit and offset agreements were signed in April 2003. Deliveries started in 2006. Polish F-16s are stationed in two bases – Krzesiny in Poznań and Łask near Łódź.

Main photo source: Press materials

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