According to Katarzyna Jakubowska of the Centre for Operations of the Polish Ministry of Defence, the Armament Inspectorate has announced that a negotiation procedure has begun, involving the contractors who have submitted the preliminary offers concerning the procurement of rotary-winged aircraft for the Polish Navy and for the Special Operations component. Considering the previously made declarations, most probably the bidders include PZL Świdnik, PZL Mielec and Airbus Helicopters companies.
The proposals are related to procurement of eight helicopters, capable of carrying out CSAR missions, and eight ASW helicopters, with maritime SAR capability available too. First, the negotiation procedure is going to cover the aircraft for the Special Operations component.
Katarzyna Jakubowska stresses the fact that the helicopters used now have their operational lifetime defined to end in 2019, and that they are “continuously fulfilling the tasks placed in front of them”. Thus, the negotiation concerning the maritime helicopters will be carried out only after the schedules presented by the bidders undergo a relevant analysis. An option is considered to have the helicopters delivered in two lots, 4 helicopters each.
The procurement procedure is carried out within a mode applicable to acquisitions that bear the basic meaning for national security. “In the light of the above, the negotiation needs to be carried out in full secrecy. This means that until the moment when the procedure is finalized, no detailed information can be released” - as Katarzyna Jakubowska informed.
The Ministry also noted that new requirements concerning the offset, constituting an “integral part of the contract”, have been developed. It has also been stated that “negligence seen in the area of offset requirements” could have been witnessed, that was to be caused by the former leadership of the Polish Ministry of Defence, when it comes to the previous tender in which the Caracal platform had been selected. Ultimately though, the offset negotiation concerning the acquisition of the said helicopters resulted in a failure, while the whole procurement procedure has been cancelled, which has led to the current situation.