Polish Defence Minister, Antoni Macierewicz, stated during the press conference that he is a proponent of modernizing the helicopter inventory used by the Polish Armed Forces on the basis of equipment provided by three contractors. “We want the Caracal helicopter to have an input in modernization of the Polish helicopter inventory, however we would like to place the foundations of our efforts in the Polish facilities which employ Polish workers, Polish engineers, which develop the Polish armament industry potential.We would like the Polish effort in that matter to be based on these three contractors” - as it was stated by the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, responding to the questions of the journalists.
Contrary to the prior speculations, Antoni Macierewicz did not terminate the multi-role helicopter contract signed by the former government led by the Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform) party. The agreement has been concluded with the Airbus Helicopters company: “We are still negotiating the deal regarding the Caracal helicopters, we want Caracal to work for Poland, but we would like to base the operational capabilities of the Polish helicopters on the Mielec and Świdnik facilities, not resigning from the Caracal platform obviously.The initial examples of the helicopters are going to be delivered for the Army later this year.We have finalized the initial talks with Mielec and Świdnik.And, I repeat, we do count on the French Airbus company to participate in this programme.”
One should note at the same time, that no scope within which the Caracal helicopter is going to be used by the Polish Army was defined. However it was confirmed that Polish Ministry of Defence is involved in parallel negotiations with the competition of the Airbus Helicopters company – PZL Świdnik and PZL Mielec facilities. Initially, Polish Ministry of Defence planned to order 50 Caracal helicopters. Notably, during the press conference, the Defence Minister did not make direct references to the planned Kruk programme, the goal of which is to acquire attack helicopters that could replace the Mi-24 gunships, currently operated by the Army.
However, Antoni Macierewicz said that the Polish Treasury, as a result of the prior decisions that had been taken by the former government, would be required to pay an amount which would not be returned as investment in Poland, especially in the defence industry, as the money would be received by the foreign entities exclusively.