Mariusz Błaszczak made the remark at a Polish Air Force base in the western city of Poznań on Tuesday, state news agency PAP reported.
Błaszczak, who is also a deputy prime minister, visited the facility to meet with Polish pilots and technicians who had been shortlisted to undergo specialist training on F-35 stealth jets in the United States.
He told the gathering: “The group that has been selected to operate the F-35 jets are brilliant and dedicated people, and they possess the right experience as they fly and maintain F-16 jets.”
Błaszczak told reporters that Polish crews had so far trained on F-35 simulators, but would "soon begin practice on real-life aircraft."
The first F-35s are slated for delivery to the Polish Air Force in 2024, according to officials.
Poland ordered 32 F-35A multi-role fighters from US defence company Lockheed Martin under a USD 4.6 billion deal in January 2020, the PAP news agency reported.
The first batch of eight F-35s delivered to Poland will be initially used in the training of Polish crews in the United States, according to officials.
F-35s will 'strengthen security in our region'
Błaszczak said on Tuesday that the F-35s were “the best fighter jets in the world,” designed for the purposes of “network-centric warfare.”
He stated: “The F-35 fighter jets will fundamentally raise the combat potential of Poland's defence system and strengthen security in our region.”
He added that Poland would be America’s first ally to be equipped with the Integrated Air and Missile Defence Battle Command System (IBCS), which also includes the HIMARS advanced rocket artillery system and the Patriot air-defence system, the PAP news agency reported.
The IBCS helps create an integrated network of all the available air and missile defence assets in the battlespace, according to experts.
Tuesday is day 412 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, gov.pl, northropgrumman.com