Lockheed Martin’s Polish division, Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Mielec, proudly showcased the F-16’s rear fuselage section, signaling Mielec’s growing stature in the aviation sector. Janusz Zakręcki, the plant’s head, spoke to the Polish Press Agency about the unveiled segment’s significance and shared ambitious goals: by the end of next year, they aim to produce 70-80% of the F-16’s fuselage, a leap from the present 50%. Starting this venture in January 2021, Mielec updated its storied hangar and sent several team members for specialized training at Lockheed’s Greenville, South Carolina hub. To enhance the transition, a contingent of twelve U.S. engineers is now permanently stationed in Poland.
Having previously crafted parts for Black Hawk helicopters and M28 planes, this milestone accentuates PZL Mielec’s expanding role in fighter jet assembly. Lockheed’s VP, Orlando Sanchez Jr., highlighted the geopolitical implications of this progress, particularly amid the backdrop of Russian tensions, praising Poland’s crucial contribution to bolstering European security.