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Poland receiving within weeks first F35-TR3 directly from texas industry.

Senior officials at Lockheed Martin have stated that they expect the first F-35 fighter jets destined for Poland to leave the Fort Worth, Texas, production plant in the coming months, a schedule that is unaffected by the company's issues with a major aircraft upgrade known as Technology Refresh 3, or TR-3.
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Seven F-35 Lightning IIs wait to take off for a U.S. Air Force Weapons School training mission at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 31, 2024.  (Picture source: William R. Lewis/U.S. Air Force)

The planned timeline aligns with the training of Polish pilots, which is set to begin in the United States later this year. Gary North, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for Customer Requirements and former general in charge of U.S. Air Forces in the Pacific, said, "The first F-35s for Poland are expected to leave the factory this summer. Between late 2024 and 2026, these planes will be used at the Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as initial trainers for Polish pilots."

These statements largely align with those from officials at the Polish Ministry of National Defense. Last month, a ministry spokesperson stated that the implementation of the contract for purchasing 32 F-35 fighters is proceeding on schedule.

In the United States, Lockheed Martin has struggled with deploying the TR-3 package, which includes software and hardware upgrades designed to enhance the computing performance underlying the operations of the next-generation fighter aircraft. Last month, CEO Jim Taiclet told reporters that the first F-35s equipped with TR-3 capabilities, already delayed for over a year, would not be considered combat-ready until 2025.

In January 2020, Poland signed a deal worth approximately $4.6 billion under which the country will acquire 32 fifth-generation jet fighters from the United States. The foreign military sale aims to enable the Polish military to replace its obsolete Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft, adding the F-35s to its fleet of F-16 C/D Block 52+ and FA-50 light attack aircraft.

The F-35s are expected to arrive in Poland by 2026, making the country the first user of the Lockheed Martin-manufactured fighter in the region, followed by the Czech Republic and Romania.

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