The release issued by the Armament Agency states that the consultation would concern the option of procuring a complex solution, namely a system consisting of:
- 24 helicopters, configured in a manner allowing for training involving weapons designed for air platforms;
- Training system (simulators and trainers);
- Logistics package;
- Material support services;
- Training package;
- Establishment of tailoring of proper infrastructure, for the means listed above.
The consultation process is scheduled to happen between 14th February and 15th March 2024.
The information regarding the procurement of training helicopters is not a surprise, given the scale of the recent Polish helicopter acquisition efforts. Acquisition of 4 AW101s, 8 S-70i Black Hawks, and 32 AW149s may be viewed as a replacement of legacy platforms, the announced procurement of up to 96 AH-64E Apache Guardians and plans regarding attack helicopters, mean that the training processes need to be made far more efficient. The training platform also needs to be modern, to be aligned with the needs of crews who would be operating the new types.
Meanwhile, Polish training aviation units currently operate 22 light SW-4 Puszczyk helicopters. These are relatively new, but have been suffering from technical issues, and are considered to be suboptimal in training. Apart from that, an unspecified number of legacy Mi-2s is also used in that role.
We know now that at least several parties are interested in offering a training helicopter platform for the Polish Air Force. Airbus Helicopters is one of them - for quite some time now the company has been promoting the H145M platform in Poland - also in the context of training. Leonardo Helicopters would be the second significant bidder. The Italian manufacturer was showcasing its light AW109 platform during the MSPO event in Kielce last year. It cannot be ruled out that Bell would also place its bid - it offers a whole range of light designs.