Poland is ready to send four F-16s to join the war in Syria in a recconaisance role, sources in Warsaw said on Monday 15 February. It is not sure if or when the fighter jets will actually depart to the area and if so, where they will be based.
The head of the Polish National Security Bureau said Poland is considering sending montoring and recce assets to the Syrian conflict area. Most likely it concerns four F-16s with DB110 Raptor recce pods, plus personnel. A formal decision is expected in few a weeks.
The Polish announcement comes as a surprise and may have been sparked by Polish concerns over the refugee crisis that is the result of the war in Syria. Another argument could be the Russian involvement in Syria. Poland has been eyeing east towards Russia with some unease for a number of years now. By sending or at least threatening to send F-16s to Syria, Poland signals to Moscow it is prepared to act military when necessary.
Poland operates 48 reasonably advanced F-16s, all delivered over the last decade or so. Their involvement over Syria would mark the first time Polish F-16s are used in anger, albeit in a recce role.
The presence of the Poles would also mean the situation in Syria gets even more volatile, with aircraft from close to a dozen nations now in the area or preparing to go there. Saudi Arabia is said to have send F-15s to Turkey for operations over Syria, but it remains unclear if that movement actually took place.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest & Paweł Bondaryk