Poland, US sign agreement to station F-16s in Poland
Poland and the United States signed an agreement Monday to station F-16 jet fighters and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft on Polish soil along with a detachment of American pilots who would train their local counterparts, DPA reported.
"We think this is the next step in deepening Polish-American partnership," Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich said at the signing ceremony with US Ambassador Lee Feinstein.
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 said.
Klich has said the aircraft would 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.
US President Barack Obama began talks in December on stationing the F-16s in Poland when his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski visited Washington DC.