B-737-800, M-346s for Poland

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence | News -

The USAF’s 5th Gen­er­a­tion fighter, the F-22A Raptor has been em­ployed for tar­get­ting Tal­iban narcotics lab­o­ra­to­ries and other in­fra­struc­ture in Musa Qala with GBU-39B Small Di­am­e­ter Bombs (SDBs). Ini­tial strikes had been flown by Afghan Air Force A-29s, which hit two opium-pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in north­ern Hel­mand Prov­ince. The F-22 Raptor “is one of our most ad­vanced fighter air­craft,” said United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) com­man­der Gen John Ni­chol­son. “This air­craft was used be­cause of its abil­ity to de­liver pre­ci­sion mu­ni­tions, in this case a 250lb bomb that causes the min­i­mal amount of col­lat­eral dam­age.” B-52Hs were also in­volved in the air strikes on eight opium-pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, in a se­ries of raids in­tended to tar­get Tal­iban rev­enue streams. As part of the US gov­ern­ment’s re­vised South Asia strat­egy, new author­i­ties al­low USFOR-A to strike fi­nan­cial tar­gets as well as mil­i­tary ones. How­ever, some US crit­ics are ques­tion­ing as to “why is the air force us­ing its most ad­vanced fight­ers to blow up crude drug labs?”

Anew VIP trans­port Boe­ing 737-800 has been de­liv­ered to the Pol­ish Air Force at 1. Baza Lot­nictwa Trans­portowego War­sawOke­cie Air­port. This is the first of three 737s that will en­ter Pol­ish ser­vice, the other two be­ing Boe­ing Busi­ness Jet 2 vari­ants, which are due for de­liv­ery in 2018.

Mean­while, Leonardo has de­liv­ered the last six M-346s to the Pol­ish Air Force. The orig­i­nal con­tract stated that all eight air­craft were to be de­liv­ered be­fore the end of 2017, and the first two M-346s ar­rived in Poland in Novem­ber 2016, but be­cause of the lack of weapons-re­lease soft­ware for some of the ar­ma­ment used by Pol­ish F-16s, de­liv­ery of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth M-346s was de­layed. Leonardo have be­gun train­ing some Pol­ish pi­lots and in­struc­tors on the new air­craft in Vene­gono, us­ing Ital­ian Air Force T-346As to min­imise the im­pact on the Pol­ish train­ing syl­labus.

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