Poland to purchase 70 helicopters
PR dla Zagranicy
The Ministry of Defence has begun talks with manufacturers concerning the purchase of 70 helicopters.
Sikorsky's Black Hawk. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Sikorsky's Black Hawk:wiki
A tender is expected to be settled in 2014, with the ministry hoping for the first deliveries due to be received in 2016.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in 2012 the last model should be purchased by 2022, and Poland expects to pay 7-9 billion zloty for the entire commission (1.6 – 2.1 billion euro.)
Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak has already specified that Poland will favour companies that can carry out the project on Polish soil, and where possible, using Polish components.
The Gazeta Wyborcza daily claims that insiders at the ministry have said unofficially that even if there are budget cuts at the ministry, this will not affect the helicopter purchase, which has been given priority as a strategic project.
The paper indicates that America's Sikorsky firm is the frontrunner. Sikorsky already manufactures aircraft in Mielec, south east Poland.
Another possibility is the Eurocopter Group, which is owned by EADs, a French-German-Spanish consortium. Eurocopter has already stated that it could make the aircraft in Poland.
Italian-British AgustaWestland is also a candidate. The company is already active in Swidnik, eastern Poland. However, it's new AW19 helicopter has not been tested to the same degree as potential rival bidders' models.
The helicopters will be used for transporting troops and providing airborne support to soldiers on the ground. (nh)