Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poland agrees to host US airbase

US Ambassador Lee Feinstein (L) and Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich (R) sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation of the Polish and US Air Forces on Polish soil in Warsaw on June 13

Source: Press TV

Poland and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a permanent US military base on Polish soil.

The two NATO allies signed the accord in Warsaw on Monday, according to which the US Air Force will station troops and aircraft in Poland starting in 2013, Reuters reported.

"This memorandum of understanding means that by the end of 2012 we will have in Poland a detachment allowing for the permanent rotation of American military aircraft, both combat and transport aircraft," Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said after the signing ceremony with the US ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein.

"From 2013 we plan the regular and periodic presence of aircraft and the training of pilots four times a year," Klich added.

The US Air Force Aviation Detachment will be the first US troops to ever be permanently stationed in the country.

The deal, which was endorsed by US President Barack Obama during his trip to Poland in late May, provides support for an air detachment to train Polish pilots to fly F-16 warplanes and C-130 transport planes.

Twenty US servicemen are also expected to deploy to Poland in 2012 to maintain the aircraft.

During his visit to Warsaw, Obama and Polish leaders also confirmed plans for Poland to host SM-3 interceptors from 2018 under a US missile defense program.

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