Poland to host US F-16 fighter jets from 2013: minister
US F-16 fighter jets and Hercules transport aircraft will be deployed in Poland on a rotating basis as of 2013, Poland's Defence Minister Bogdan Klich said Thursday.
"Poland has decided to accept the US proposal of hosting rotations of F-16 and Hercules aircraft and their crews" on its territory, Klich told Poland's TOK FM commercial radio station. "I hope this will begin in 2013," he added.
"The Americans will come, conduct exercises with Poles and return home. Then, they will return periodically to Polish soil," the minister said.
Klich added the F-16 and Hurcules rotations will be similar to those of US Patriot missiles which began rotations in Poland in May.
"The American presence on our territory constitutes an additional guarantee, an additional assurance that we are in an alliance (NATO) where our allies would come to our aid if the situation warranted," said Klich.
The minister also announced that Poland and the three Baltic states in 2013 will host in an exercise of the NATO Response Force (NRF), a multinational contingent of about 25,000 troops available for rapid deployment in crisis management, stabilisation or collective defence.
Klich also confirmed his country was satisfied with NATO's new strategic concept, which the 28-state alliance is to debate at its November 19-20 summit in Lisbon.
© 2010 AFP