According to Jaroslaw Adamowski, DefenseNews.com correspondent, Poland’s Ministry of Defense has obtained three offers in its much-awaited tender to acquire some 70 new helicopters for the country’s armed forces. The bidders include:
- Airbus Helicopters;
- PZL-Swidnik – a Poland-based subsidiary of AgustaWestland.
«The next phase of the tender will be to perform an analysis of the submitted documents by the commission which is carrying out this procedure, and to select the best offer and test the helicopter», Col. Jacek Sonta, the spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, said in a statement.
A consortium led by Airbus Helicopters is offering the EC-725, while Sikorsky wants to supply its S70i Black Hawk, and AgustaWestland is offering the AW-149.
The Airbus Helicopters EC-725 Caracal (also named Super Cougar) is a long-range tactical transport helicopter developed from the Super Puma/Cougar family for military use. It is a twin-engined aircraft and can carry up to 29-seated troops along with 2 crew, depending on customer configuration. The helicopter is marketed for troop transport, casualty evacuation, and combat search and rescue duties, and is similar to the civilian EC-225.
The Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk is an international military version assembled by Sikorsky subsidiary, PZL-Mielec in Poland. It was developed for the U.S. Army in the 1970s, winning a competition to be designated the UH-60 Black Hawk and spawning a large family in United States military service. New and improved versions of the UH-60 have been developed since. Civilian versions and some military versions of this medium transport/utility helicopter are produced under various S-70 model designations.
The AgustaWestland AW149 is a medium-lift military helicopter being developed by AgustaWestland. On 20 June 2011, AgustaWestland announced the AW189, a civilian development of the AW149, for service in 2013.
The new helicopters are designed to replace the Polish military’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-8, Mi-14 and Mi-17 old helicopters.
Local newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported that the planned deal is estimated to be worth up to 10 billion zloty ($2.8 billion).
According to the ministry, the helicopters are to be supplied in three variants, including:
- Multi-Task Transport;
«Following the signature of an offset deal, it will become possible for us to sign a contract for the delivery of the helicopters. Under the plan, this will happen in the second half of 2015», Sonta said.
Deliveries are scheduled for 2017 to 2022.