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Polish company PZL Mielec plans to expand its production of F-16 components, with the aim to produce up to 80% of parts needed for the jet's fuselage, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported on Aug. 30.
PZL Mielec is based in southeastern Poland and is owned by the American defense company Lockheed Martin.
Janusz Zakrecki, the president of PZL Mielec, told PAP that the company currently produces about 50% of the structure of an F-16 fuselage. By the end of 2024, the aim is to produce between 70% and 80% of the fuselage in Mielec.
The plant's hangar has been modernized and a number of its employees have received six months of training at Lockheed Martin's main factory in South Carolina.
PZL Mielec is one of Poland's major aircraft manufacturers and the largest manufacturing site for Lockheed Martin outside the U.S.
Mielec is located 50 kilometers from Rzeszow, an important logistics hub where NATO reportedly plans to logistics and repair center for Ukrainian military equipment.
Rzeszow airport is a crucial conduit for Western military aid flowing to Ukraine.
After months of protracted discussions, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov confirmed on Aug. 19 that the first Ukrainian pilots, engineers, and technicians have started their training on F-16s.
On Aug. 20, upon meeting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine will receive 42 F-16s from the Netherlands in a "breakthrough agreement."
Denmark has officially announced that it will provide Kyiv with 19 of its F-16 fighter jets, with the first batch of six planes expected to arrive by the New Year, according to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
On Aug. 24, the U.S. announced it will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly and maintain F-16 fighter jets in October.