The Polish Air Force Inspector, Maj. Gen. Jan Sliwka, visited Israel earlier this week and took part in the “Blue-Flag” training exercise, in which the Polish Air Force also partook.

During his visit, Maj. Gen. Sliwka flew alongside the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron – the leader of the biggest exercise in the history of the IAF – toured Hatzerim Airbase and met with the IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel. “Our goal is simply to fly”, said the Polish Air Force Inspector, after returning from the “Blue-Flag” training exercise. “This is the second time they are conducting the ‘Blue-Flag’ training exercise, the scenarios of the current exercise have improved and the ‘Ouvda’ Airbase has given us good infrastructure for optimal practice. We are learning from each other and gaining shared experiences in addition to experiencing Israeli culture”.

Cooperation between the IAF and its Polish counterpart has strengthened significantly, with 2015 being a record year for the close collaboration. At the end of August, the IAF took part in the “Radom Air Show” in Poland as the Polish Air Force’s guest. “The Polish Air Force cooperates with the Israeli Air Force in many fields”, added Maj. Gen Sliwka. “There is a great deal of similarity between the forces, and we learn a lot from the Israeli pilots, especially in cooperative training exercises like the ‘Blue-Flag'”.

“Israel attributes great importance in its relationship with Poland”

The Polish Air Force, which has been in a wide scale force build-up process in the last years, shares three platforms with the IAF: The F-16 jet, the heavy transport plane C-130, and the instructional M-346 aircraft. All three platforms are productions of Western countries, the United States and Italy, and fly beside many Soviet-era planes and helicopters.

The Polish Air Force, which flies both Western and Eastern aircraft, will equip itself in the next decade with eight “Patriot” batteries, 50 Airbus H225M “Caracal” helicoptersand “David’s Sling” intercepting missiles made by the Israeli “Rafael” company that will be integrated with Polish “Patriot” systems.

“In the last few years, the Polish Air Force has been growing closer to the Western countries”, said Colonel G, the IDF attaché in Poland and an IAF pilot. “Israel attributes great importance to its relationship with Poland – a strategic relationship that rests on and is built on various issues, such as purchases, industry development, collaborative training, and sharing of knowledge. Our participation in the Radom Air Show, alongside the Polish Air Force’s participation in the ‘Blue-Flag’ and the IAF commander’s visit to Poland, support this strategic effort”.