Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Air and Air Defense Forces

In 1992 a high military priority was establishing an air defense system based on existing assets of the air and air defense forces. Within that context, early warning and force integration were the most immediate problems. Resistance to enemy fire and maneuverability were rated as poor by Polish military experts. Restructuring plans called for one air defense corps in each of the four military districts, each corps having air intercept and rocket forces. Combined manpower was projected at 50,000.

In 1992 some 83,000 personnel, including 47,000 conscripts, served in the Polish air and air defense forces. Active combat aircraft numbered 423, with an additional eighty-six in storage awaiting sale, and thirty-one attack helicopters. The forces were divided into two air divisions. The four regiments of groundattack fighters totaled twenty Su-20 and 104 Su-22 fighters supplied by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. For reconnaissance, the ground-attack regiments had twenty-four MiG-17 and eight Su20 airplanes. Air combat forces were divided into eight regiments equipped with 221 MiG-21/U fighters, whose equivalents were long ago withdrawn from service in the West, thirty-seven more advanced variable wing-geometry MiG-23MF fighters, and nine MiG29 fighters, top-of-the-line Soviet aircraft whose delivery was curtailed in late 1990. Air combat forces utilized twenty-four MiG-21RU reconnaissance aircraft.

In 1992 the air force had two transport regiments equipped with ten AN-2 single-engine transports, one AN-12 four-turboprop general transport, eleven AN-26 two-turboprop short-haul transports, ten Yak-40 short-haul, three-turbofan jet transports, one Tu-154 long-range three-turbofan jet transport, three Il-14 piston-engine light transports, four Mi-8 helicopters, and one Bell 412 helicopter.

Polish helicopter attack forces were organized in three regiments in 1992. Altogether the regiments had thirty Mi-24, 130 Mi-2, and twenty-one Mi-8 assault helicopters. Of that component, the Mi-2 and Mi-8 were designed in the 1960s and the Mi-24 in the early 1970s. Eighteen Su-22 fighters were used for training. The Polish armed forces stored a large number of redundant or outmoded fighter airplanes and began selling them to Western collectors in the early 1990s. In storage in 1992 were forty MiG21s and variants of that model, twenty-four MiG-17s, and twentytwo MiG-15 U7s.

Data as of October 1992