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USAF certifies Polish M-346 training system for F-16 and F-35 pilots

9th May 2022 - 14:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Polish Air Force M-346 Bielik advanced trainer jets. (Photo: Polish Air Force)

A positive evaluation of the M-346 means that personnel from Poland and neighbouring countries can train locally with the aircraft.

The Polish Air Force flight training school in Deblin has received a certificate from the USAF to confirm that its Leonardo M-346 Beilik aircraft is equivalent to the training on the US T-38 Talon to the level of Introduction for Fighter Fundamentals (IFF).

The school met all the requirements to train F-35 and F-16 pilots too. The certification process took place at the end of last year and lasted a week.

The certification does not only mean that Polish aircrew will not have to fly to the US for training, but pilots from Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria may also be trained in Poland.

Deblin M-346 instructor Major Pilot Mariusz Fischer said: ‘The Polish training system was tested at the end of last year by American officers. A team of several US Air Force pilots, representing both combat and training units, came to us and carefully checked how we train.’

He added that the officials assessed the teaching skills of instructors and verified training phases in the M-346 flight simulator, including mission planning, briefing, aerial activity and debriefing.

‘The Americans also evaluated our infrastructure for functionality, number of aircraft and simulators available. They also analysed the training documentation and the flight safety system. Everything has been thoroughly evaluated,’ Fischer said.

The instructor pointed out that although the inspection yielded very positive results and the US was satisfied with the level of sophistication of the training system, ‘their number is inadequate to the fleet of aircraft acquired and this could affect the maintenance of the expected training pace.’

Acquisition of an additional simulator seems to be inevitable to reach the desired capacity of the system.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, by the end of 2022 the Polish Air Force will have a fleet of 16 M-346s that enables it to complete its lead-in-fighter training fleet modernisation.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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