PZL Mielec to Deliver Helicopters for the Polish GROM SOF Unit

Janusz Zakręcki (President at PZL Mielec), and Mariusz Błaszczak (Head of the PolishMoD), signing the agreement on procurement of another 4 helicopters for the SOF
Janusz Zakręcki (President at PZL Mielec), and Mariusz Błaszczak (Head of the PolishMoD), signing the agreement on procurement of another 4 helicopters for the SOF component.
Photo. Mateusz Zielonka/

The Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD and PZL Mielec facility have concluded an agreement covering the procurement of 4 S-70i Black Hawk multi-role helicopters in a SOF configuration.

This is the second lot of Black Hawks procured with the intent of being used in an airborne SOF role. Apart from the aircraft, the deal also includes a training/logistics package. The contract is worth PLN 666 million (gross), while the deliveries are to be completed by the end of October 2024. The first two examples are to be commissioned in 2023, the other two -- in 2024. No details have been disclosed referring to the specialist equipment, specific for the SOF-ops. However, the package is to be analogous to the one integrated on helicopters procured in 2019.

Today we have 4 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, another 4 would be commissioned in the Special Operations Forces soon. The Polish military needs to be equipped with modern equipment, to ensure Polish security.

The first lot of four Black Hawk helicopters was handed off on 20th December 2019. This was done based on an agreement signed on 25th January 2019, with a price tag of ca. PLN 683.4 million. Apart from the helicopters alone, specialist equipment, logistical and training packages, and ground support equipment were all acquired. As the delivery deadline is short (11 months from the conclusion of the agreement), the helicopters were delivered in the base configuration. Then, they would receive numerous elements of the specialist kit, but this would happen after they are introduced into active service.

The fact that this agreement has been signed is a consequence of changes in the military procurement process. We are tearing down numerous barriers tied to administration, tied to bureaucracy. Technical Modernization Council has been established already. ArmamentAgency would start its operations as of 1st January 2022

Since then, the helicopters have been used extensively by the SOF elements in their exercises and operations. Acquisition of another four Black Hawk helicopters would double the number, and 8 aircraft as such would be available. The main task for them would be to provide airlift capability and fire support for the SOF units. So far the aforesaid tasks were assigned to the 7th Special Operations Squadron, currently operating a couple of examples of Mi-17 helicopters (Mi-17TU and Mi-17-1V), tailored to the specific requirements of the SOF missions. The Squadron is an Air Force element destined to support the SOF component, for which it is carrying out the relevant missions. The latest Black Hawks, meanwhile, would be subordinated directly to the GROM unit of the SOF component. The first S-70i helicopters that have been introduced already have also been received by the aforesaid element.