Partnerships

Polish President, Defense Minister Visit F-35 Facility in Florida

June 11, 2019 | BY C. Todd Lopez

Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak visited Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to take a look at the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

A man sits in the cockpit of an aircraft trainer.
Cockpit Simulator
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszcza visits the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to gain insight about the operational capabilities of the F-35A Lightning II, to determine the requirements for Poland's imminent acquisition of the F-35A and to tour the maintenance academic training facility, June 10, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Emily Smallwood
VIRIN: 190610-F-PJ011-0287E

Senior U.S. defense officials said the Polish government has submitted a letter of request to purchase the F-35 aircraft, and that the Defense Department is working through the foreign military sales process to develop an offer for the Polish government.

Poland's Defense Ministry highlighted yesterday's visit to Eglin through a statement on Twitter: "On June 10-13, Mariusz Blaszczak visits U.S.," the ministry statement reads. "On the first day he visited ... Eglin Air Force Base, where he got acquainted with F-35 — the latest generation aircraft-development program: 'Soon we will join the elite group of countries using the best #F35,' said Mariusz Blaszczak."

A man is interviewed on camera in an aircraft hangar with a fighter aircraft in the background.
Hangar Interview
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak visits the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to gain insight about the operational capabilities of the F-35A Lightning II, to determine the requirements for Poland's imminent acquisition of the F-35A, and to tour the maintenance academic training facility, June 10, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Emily Smallwood
VIRIN: 190610-F-PJ011-0563E
Two men speak inside an aircraft hangar with a fighter aircraft in the background.
Hangar Talk
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak visits the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to gain insight about the operational capabilities of the F-35A Lightning II, to determine the requirements for Poland's imminent acquisition of the F-35A, and to tour the maintenance academic training facility, June 10, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Emily Smallwood
VIRIN: 190610-F-PJ011-0521E

Today, Blaszczak met with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan at the Pentagon.

"We respect and appreciate Poland's contributions, in terms of burden sharing, capacity building, readiness and the ability to conduct joint operations and just a whole host of what I would call model capabilities," Shanahan said.

Blaszczak reflected on a century of U.S. and Polish relations.

"It's been 100 years since we have established our diplomatic relations," he said. "Throughout those 100 years, our countries have experienced many examples of mutual support. A great example of that is the 20th anniversary of Poland joining NATO — which we are celebrating this year — which would have not been possible if not for the U.S.'s strong support."

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan walks up the Pentagon steps while listening to another leader.
Pentagon Steps
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan walks with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak into the Pentagon during an honor cordon, June 11, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190611-D-SV709-0074E
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan stands with another leader at the top of a staircase flanked by service members as a Polish flag flies.
Poland Meeting
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan stands with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak during an honor cordon welcoming him to the Pentagon, June 11, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190611-D-SV709-0108E