Poland Signs Deal with US to Host American F-16 Fighter JetsWorld | June 13, 2011, Monday // 16:27| views
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R) and Poland`s Defense Minister Bogdan Klich (L) chat during a NATO meeting in Brussels on 09 June 2011. EPA/BGNES
Poland and the USA have signed an agreement Monday to station American F-16 fighter jets on Polish soil.
The agreement also provides for stationing C-130 Hercules transport aircraft on Polish soil along with a detachment of American pilots who would train their local counterparts.
"We think this is the next step in deepening Polish-American partnership," Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said at the signing ceremony with US Ambassador Lee Feinstein as cited by DPA.
The planes would come to Poland for training on a rotational basis starting in late 2012 from US bases in Europe. They would be accompanied by an air detachment of some 20 US soldiers.
"From 2013 we are planning a regular ... presence of that aircraft and the training of the pilots four times a year,' Klich is quoted as saying.
In his words, the stationing of the US aircraft will give Polish pilots an opportunity to train with US fighter jet pilots. Previously, Polish F-16 pilots traveled to the US for advanced training, and then to Spain, Belgium or France for training missions with NATO pilots.
Details of the agreement were to be negotiated next year.
DPA reminds that US President Barack Obama began talks in December on stationing the F-16s in Poland when his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski visited Washington DC.
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