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Industry

Perkoz Programme Signed in Świdnik. First Helicopters to be Delivered Next Year

AW149 showcased in Świdnik
Photo. J. Sabak

Head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak signed an agreement today at the PZL Świdnik facility, concerning the acquisition of 32 AW149 helicopters for the Polish Armed Forces. The aircraft are procured within the framework of the MoD’s Perkoz programme.

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During the speech given at the agreement conclusion ceremony, Błaszczak recalled that the agreement on the acquisition of four AW101 maritime helicopters was signed at the same venue, back in 2019. Just moments ago we have signed an agreement on procurement of the AW149 - expected to be commissioned in the Polish land forces. These helicopters do have a good reputation - as any equipment that the Polish Armed Forces currently order has. The helicopters have been developed at Leonardo, while the Świdnik facility is one of the leading facilities established by the Group, Błaszczak recalled. He added that the agreement signed shall be seen as a contribution to the development of the Polish aerospace and defence industry, including the facility in Świdnik. A modern helicopter would be received by the land forces. The first ones would be received next year. It is important in the context of the international situation or the ongoing war in Ukraine. (...) Considering that, I have decided to accelerate the modernization of the Polish Armed Forces, and procure modern equipment. The AW149 helicopter is an example here, Błaszczak concluded.

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According to the information released by the Polish Ministry of Defence, the helicopters would be fitted with a myriad of sensors, guns, guided and unguided missiles/rockets, and a self-protection suite. The aircraft would be used both for troop transport, as well as in a role of an air support asset. This is a helicopter that we have procured in a heavily armed version, featuring ATGMs procured from another manufacturer. This would be a helicopter fitted with weapons of the best quality, said Minister Błaszczak. At the same time, he said that the acquisition of 32 aircraft, along with training and logistics packages, and simulators, would come for PLN 8.25 bn. of taxpayers' money.

Perkoz agreement signed.
Photo. J. Sabak

During the agreement signing ceremony, an AW149 helicopter wearing Aeronautica Militare's livery was present - it came to Poland for this special occasion. The aircraft showcased in Świdnik featured weapons mock-ups, including a gun pod, and ATGM launchers. The representatives of the Polish Ministry of Defence did not disclose any details on the procured ATGMs.

The agreement refers to 32 aircraft, a logistics package (spares, and consumables, plus ground support equipment), and a simulator/training package (complex pilots training/ground crew training, plus a set of advanced simulators and training aids). The delivery of helicopters is to take place between 2023 and 2029.

AW149 showcased in Świdnik. Mock-up weapons are visible, including the ATGM launchers.
Photo. Juliusz Sabak/Defence24

AW149 would be procured within the framework of the Perkoz multi-role support helicopter procurement programme. According to the technical dialogue, that programme assumed that 32 helicopters in 3 different variants would be acquired: combat support/training, command, and electronic warfare/reconnaissance.

The ability to transport 5 soldiers with a full kit or 1,000 kg of cargo is the requirement that has been unveiled in May 2020. The airmanship training requirements mean that dual controls would be needed for the helicopters. The ability to carry out close support and recce missions would mean that the new helicopters should also be able to carry armament and optoelectronic sensor/targeting suite.

The AW149 would be the first medium-size multi-role helicopter operated by Army Aviation. The only other medium multi-role helicopters in the Polish Armed Forces are the Black Hawks, operated by the SOF component.

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