Poland’s leaders signed a contract Jan. 31 to formally procure 32 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters for $4.6 billion, becoming the latest partner to join the F-35 family via foreign military sales.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed the contract in Deblin, the location of the Polish Air Force’s 41st Training Aviation Base. The State Department had previously approved the FMS sale for a maximum price of $6.5 billion in September 2019 (Defense Daily, Sept. 11, 2019). Lockheed Martin [LMT] is the prime contractor for the F-35 program.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo applauded the development in a Friday statement.

“We commend President [Andrzej] Duda, Prime Minister [Mateusz] Morawiecki, and the Polish government’s commitment to continue modernizing Poland’s military through the acquisition of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, which will improve Poland’s ability to provide collective and self-defense,” Pompeo said. “We look forward to working with our NATO Ally Poland on this project and continuing to enhance our long-term strategic partnership.”

Lockheed Martin F-35 Vice President and General Manager Greg Ulmer noted that Poland is the 14th nation and the 10th NATO ally to join the F-35 program, “a testament to the U.S. government’s confidence in the program.”

“The selection of the F-35 will extend our longstanding partnerships with the Polish government and local industry for decades to come,” Ulmer added.

Per the September 2019 State Department notice, the contract would include of the conventional takeoff-and-landing variant in use by the Air Force, along with 33 Pratt & Whitney [UTX] F-135 engines and many F-35 subsystems, spares and repair parts, and logistics and training equipment. Poland intends to use the F-35A to replace its aging Russian-made Mikoyan MiG-29 jet fighter and Sukhoi Su-22 fighter-bomber fleet.