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During his visit this week to the aircraft base F-16 in Lask near Lodz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that Poland needed a deterrent force so that potential enemies do not even think about attacking Poland. Air Force is one of the most important elements of the new military-political doctrine of the country.
Quietly, without public debate, and despite the deteriorating economic situation in Poland and throughout Europe, the Polish government decided that under the doctrine framework in the next 10 years the country would spend a record amount on weapons – over $45 billion.
Speaking to the pilots of the 32nd Tactical Air Base where Squadron F-16 is located, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that their service was a key element of the defense strategy of the Republic of Poland. He added that the key task was to make the potential enemy abandon the idea of attacking Poland thanks to the pilots’ courage and skill, thanks to modern technology and high quality of the commanders.
The Prime Minister further developed his concept saying that when it came to a conflict, casualties were inevitable, which is why every modern state, including the Republic of Poland, was establishing its military position in such a way as to avoid the worst case scenario, which required deterrence forces.
The Prime Minister reminded about the main areas of arms spending in the framework of this strategy planned for the coming years. This, in particular, is equipment for F-16 aircraft with maneuvering rockets, development of coastal missile division (that would be able to attack ground targets as well), and the Special Forces, as well as rapid transfer of Army combat drones. The head of the Polish government also stressed that the strategy was an element of cooperation with the United States, NATO and the countries of the region.
Donald Tusk concluded that hard efforts such as spending on modern equipment and training of soldiers, as well as political efforts whose goal is to create safe unions, are expected to ensure Poland’s homeland security more effectively than ever in the history of Poland.
The Prime Minister sounded somewhat cryptic when he thanked Air Force Commander for the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission that investigated the causes of the Smolensk disaster (that in 2010 killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 members of his team).
Before the tragedy, transportation of Polish officials was the responsibility of military aviation unit – the 36th Special Transport Aviation Regiment. After the accident and confirmation of numerous violations of flight procedures and errors in pilots’ training, it was decided to disband the unit on December 31, 2011. Since then, transportation of government VIP-s has become the responsibility of civil pilots and aircraft hired for delegations.
Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak who accompanied Donald Tusk said that he felt that the issues of defense were important for the Prime Minister and the government. He added that it was a special moment for the Air Force as it has been several years since the beginning of their intensive retrofitting. The Minister mentioned the purchase of combat aircraft F-16, and then C-295 transport and multi-ton giants such as Hercules.
The Minister stated that advanced pilot training was to be implemented, and the respective processes have already begun. He added that Poland would have everything necessary to train the best pilots in the world.
It is noteworthy that the new military and political doctrine of the country, the doctrine of deterrence, was accepted, and as a consequence, decisions to spend billions of dollars on weapons were made in silence of government offices. Mainstream media is focused on daily events, which prevents public debate on this topic.
When information on military ambitions of the authorities leaks into the press or the Internet in the form of minor news, the Poles do not hide their anger and irony. Recently the Poles have been dealing with constant cuts in funding for health and education as well as introduction of new taxes, such as the so-called “garbage payment” (garbage tax) to come in effect on July 1st of this year.
Comments on the Internet include statements that Tusk should leave his tales about deterrence for children. A commenter compared the Polish army to a toothless old man capable of defending himself from mosquitoes only.
Another reader said that the main enemy of Poland was Tusk himself, who destroyed the economy, health, and education.
Lack of transparency around the Polish military doctrine leads to the fact that even among serious journalists and analysts of public life only the most attentive notice the scale of the issue. This group includes a well-known journalist Henryk Martenka, who in the latest issue of the most popular weekly magazine in Poland “Angora” wrote that in difficult times of a crisis a military power has emerged whose weapons shock with the scale of funds and senselessness.
Henryk Martenka added that today wars were won not by tanks, but banks. Independence today can be lost in a single day, in complete silence. He mercilessly mocked the combat ability of the Polish army saying that the state of the Polish army was indicated by the status of the Navy, whose potential was superior to the operational force of the Slovak fleet. Otherwise, the government only needs it for parades.
Read the original in Russian