AW149, EC725 and S-70i Compete For Polish 70-Helicopter Requirement

THREE TYPES are being offered to meet the Polish Ministry of Defence’s requirement for 70 new helicopters, which will be based on a common rotary-wing platform, adapted to fulfil a variety of missions for the Polish Armed Forces.  These are the AgustaWestland AW149, Airbus Helicopters EC725 Caracal and Sikorsky S-70i Blackhawk.  They are being offered, respectively, by AgustaWestland subsidiary PZL Swidnik SA, the EC725 Caracal Polska consortium (comprising Airbus Helicopters and Heli Invest Sp) and a consortium of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Sikorsky International Operations and PZL.

The Polish MOD confirmed receipt of bids from all three on December 30. The tenders are now being examined in detail to select a winner.  The choice will be based not only on the bids submitted, but also offsets proposals and the results of flight testing of each of the helicopters on offer.

The MOD requires offset agreements to be signed before contract signature, which is planned for the second half of 2015. The requirement is for 48 tactical transport helicopters for the Army and ten SAR helicopters for the Air Force; plus six ASW and six maritime SAR examples for the Navy.  Poland requires delivery of all 70 helicopters by 2022, which will enable the retirement of elderly Soviet-era types currently used in these roles. Alan Warnes