PZL-Świdnik, the Polish company fully owned by Leonardo, has been awarded a contract by the Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD) worth 8.25 billion PLN gross (approximately EUR 1.76 billion) for the supply of 32 AW149 multirole helicopters. The contract was announced on July 01, 2022 during an official ceremony held at PZL-Świdnik’s facility, in the presence of representatives of the Polish Government.
In addition, the contract includes logistics, training and simulator packages. The logistics package includes a stock of spares and consumable parts, as well as equipment for the ground handling of the helicopters. The training and simulator package includes comprehensive training of pilots and technical personnel and the delivery of a set of advanced simulators and training equipment. The new helicopters will carry out missions including troop transport and air support. The equipment of the helicopters will also allow them to be used for casualty evacuation, search and rescue in combat operations and for the transport of goods and supplies. The helicopters’ configuration, fully meeting the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces, will also include, among others, observation systems, small arms, guided/unguided rockets and missiles and self-defence systems. The armament, depending on the helicopter variant and configuration, can be installed in the cabin or on the helicopter’s external hard points. The deliveries of the helicopters will be made in the 2023-2029 period.
Acting as the prime contractor, PZL-Świdnik will host a local production line for these new helicopters. Leonardo will therefore undertake further investments in its Polish facility in addition to approximately 1 billion EUR already invested since 2010, which has significantly strengthened the competitiveness and the industrial capabilities of PZL-Świdnik. This provides an important contribution to the Polish aerospace and defence industry, which will enable domestic production, the establishment of a logistic base and thorough technical support for the Polish MoD’s AW149s, in line with Leonardo and PZL-Świdnik’s commitment to deliver industrial benefits to Poland.
The AW149, already in service with international operators for a range of applications and under evaluation among many countries, is ideally suited to modernise defence helicopter fleets and replace a range of ageing types in the medium weight category. The AW149 is a latest generation multirole military helicopter designed from the outset to meet the most demanding needs of armed forces. The platform can be reconfigured to perform a wide variety of demanding tasks in the toughest operational conditions. The AW149’s advanced equipment, weapons and system technologies, combined with its agility, range/endurance and high power margins, highest levels of safety and survivability, provide defence users with high operational availability, mission effectiveness and cost efficiency of the fleet.
Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo, said: «The contract signed today is a continuation of the fulfillment of our promises to Poland regarding Leonardo’s commitment to the development of the local helicopter plants and the Polish supply chain to the benefit of Polish industry. By strengthening our position in the strategic Polish market, as a supplier of modern defence technology, we are proud to contribute to the constant increase of the security of the Polish nation, and to strengthen the industrial capabilities which are fundamental to the country’s resilience and sovereignty».
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: «The state-of-the-art AW149 helicopter represents a quantum leap forward in true multirole mission and growth capability, efficient fleet management and emergency responsiveness for modern armed forces. The localisation of industrial and logistical capabilities for these new helicopters to meet Poland’s needs, leverage the long established and unique capabilities of PZL-Świdnik and its professional skills combined with the outstanding operational capabilities of the AW149 will deliver unparalleled advantages to the country».
Jacek Libucha, President of PZL-Świdnik said: «With complete capabilities in helicopter design, development, customisation and servicing, PZL-Świdnik confirms its leadership and the continuation of its 70-year heritage through the setting of key milestones for our aviation industry. I know PZL-Świdnik’s helicopters and their great capabilities well as a former military officer with experience in country and abroad. Being today on the industrial side of this experience, serving the present and future generation of soldiers as a manufacturer, I have an even greater sense of fulfillment of my duties. I am convinced that the AW149 will meet the Armed Forces’ high-end needs».