The Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD announced that the analytical-conceptual phase of the Drop medium airlifter procurement programme has been suspended. The reasons for that stem from the evolving operational requirements.
As announced by the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD, as the operational requirements have been redefined, the Drop medium airlifter procurement programme’s analytical-conceptual phase has been suspended. Further works on the programme would progress in line with a timeline adopted by the Polish Armed Forces, within the planning documents that remain confidential.
In other words, the programme would be continued, however, its roadmap would not be unveiled - at least for now. In practical terms, this probably translates into a postponement of the programme. The details of redefinition have not been disclosed. This approach is not surprising, considering the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and the urgent requirements and needs the Polish military has when it comes to equipment that is going to play a decisive role in defending the country (Wisła and Narew air defence systems, armour programmes, the F-35, ATGMs, grenade launchers).
This is even more pronounced as Poland is to receive five refurbished C-130H airlifters from the US that would join the Polish C-130E aircraft to ultimately replace them around 2022.
The willingness to execute a technical dialogue has been, quite surprisingly, announced by the Armament Inspectorate in late May 2019. Until the end of July 2019, five entities made their submissions: Leonardo S.p.A.; Airbus Defence and Space S.A.U.; Embraer S.A.; Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. One could speculate that the following designs have been offered: C-130J/J-30 Super Hercules, A-400 Atlas, and C-390 Millenium. The technical dialogue was scheduled to take place between September 2019 and May this year.