Eastern Europe as a back door to europe

R Zajkowski fork at finalbanana.com
Thu Apr 24 11:13:11 PDT 2003


Apr. 19, 2003. 01:00 AM
Poland signs jet deal worth $3.5 billion U.S.
Lockheed Martin to supply 48 F-16s to Polish air force
Biggest Eastern bloc defence pact since Cold War

DEBLIN, Poland‹Poland yesterday signed a deal to buy 48 U.S.-made F-16 jet
fighters for $3.5 billion (U.S.), the biggest defence contract by a former
Soviet-bloc country since the end of the Cold War.

The Polish government announced last December that it had chosen the U.S.
government-backed offer over two rival European offers ‹ the Swedish-British
Gripen jet and the French-made Mirage 2000. But negotiating the investment
in the so-called offset deals took several more months.

Along with the purchase of planes from Lockheed Martin Corp., Polish and
U.S. officials concluded an agreement setting out U.S. transfer of
technology, investment in Poland and business deals with Polish
manufacturers that the government valued at between $7.5 billion (U.S.) and
$12 billion.

Polish Defence Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski and U.S. General Tome Walters
completed the F-16 contract at the Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin, some
100 kilometres south of Warsaw, at a signing ceremony attended by Polish
Prime Minister Leszek Miller and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill.

With its complexity and scope, the package underscored strong U.S.-Polish
strategic ties, reinforced in recent months by Warsaw's support for the war
in Iraq.

"Today we have a new quality and a new momentum in Polish-U.S. economic
relations," Hill said, adding that the package "strengthens not only
Poland's security but that of all of Europe, and the role of NATO."

Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Md., will be replacing Poland's
Soviet-made MiG fighters as the country modernizes its military to NATO

Poland joined NATO in 1999, along with Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The purchase contract specifies items of delivery, including the Lockheed
Martin aircraft, spare engines, missiles and bombs, as well as technical
details and the terms of training for Polish pilots. The aircraft will be
built in Fort Worth, Texas, and deliveries will start in 2006.

Szmajdzinski spoke of "the contract of the century" at yesterday's ceremony.

The offset program is to run over 10 years.

Major projects include plans by General Motors Corp. to expand a plant in
Gliwice, Poland, and a pledge by Motorola Inc. to invest in a
state-of-the-art communication system for Polish public services.

Polish plants are to make engines and engine parts for Lockheed Martin and
for Pratt & Whitney.

U.S. companies, including a subsidiary of the Houston-based Halliburton Co.,
are to modernize a major refinery at Gdansk and co-operate with Polish
pharmaceuticals makers.

Polish leaders hope the deals will create jobs and boost the economy, which
slowed to about 1 per cent growth last year.

"Today's event is good news for the Polish air force, it's good news for the
Polish economy and for the future of our country,'' Miller said.

On Tuesday, Polish defence officials signed a $1.2 billion deal for the
delivery of 690 Finnish-made troop carriers over the next 10 years.

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