Leonardo confirms the fact that verification tests are going on, to execute assessment concerning the PZL-Świdnik’s offer placed within the framework of a procurement procedure carried out by the Armament Inspectorate. The goal of that procedure is to acquire ASW helicopters that would also carry medical equipment at the same time, allowing the platform to be used in CSAR role. AW101 helicopter offered within the scope of the aforesaid procurement is taking part in verification tests.
AW101 was spotted over Gdynia on 12th February 2019. The helicopter, according to the information we have obtained, came to Gdynia from the British Leonardo Helicopters facility in Yeovil. The tested platform comes in a SAR variant. It is fitted with a rear ramp, and wears Norwegian livery. These helicopters do not exhibit ASW capabilities, however, the test procedures carried out by the Armament Inspectorate are aimed at verifying the compliance of performance with the documented spec sheet.
The helicopter tested in Gdynia features several unique solutions, as per Norwegian specs. These elements include AESA radar with antenna arrays placed on the fuselage and a system that makes it possible to locate people on the basis of the signals emitted by their mobile phones. Not only does it make possible to find such a missing person, as it also allows the crew to contact that person which really facilitates SAR operations in the areas where no network coverage is available. The rescue crew may communicate with that person via voice or text, or sens emergency messages to any recipient reachable.
Noteworthy, Leonardo Helicopters AW101 Merlin, offered via the Polish PZL-Świdnik facility, is the only offer placed, when it comes to the land-based naval helicopters procurement procedure carried out for the Polish Navy. The helicopter is to act in the ASW role and also offer the capability to carry out maritime SAR operations. For that purpose the helicopter has been fitted with a rapid equipment replacement system, allowing for quick installation of medical and rescue equipment.