MSPO 2017: WZL No. 1 to Extend the Operational Lifetime of the Polish Helicopters

  • Ilustracja: SENER Polska/ESA
  • Finlandia utrzymuje siły zbrojne oparte o zasadę poboru powszechnego i zdolne do przeprowadzenia mobilizacji w celu obrony terytorium kraju. Jednakże, przystąpienie do struktur Paktu Północnoatlantyckiego według wielu komentatorów przyczyniłoby się do poprawy sytuacji Finlandii w zakresie bezpieczeństwa. Fot. Taneli Ampuja/Kuva Puolustusvoimat/
  • Lądownik Huygens na powierzchni Tytana. Ilustracja: ESA

Military Aviation Works No. 1 (WZL nr 1) facility has used most of its exhibition stand during the MSPO event, to present a myriad of programmes aimed at modernization and life extension for the Mi-24 and Mi-17 helicopters remaining in service in the Polish Armed Forces. Within the said initiatives, it is planned to replace the engines, modify the avionics and the armament – in the latter case the Soviet systems would be replaced by guided missiles and a machine gun manufactured in Poland.

Modernization of the Mi-24 or Mi-17 helicopter platforms is an urgent requirement, in the light of the fact that the new attack aircraft that are to be required within the Kruk programme will not attain operational readiness for 5 to 8 years, while in case of the transport platforms, the replacement procurement timeline may be even longer. The scope of modernization is tied, above all, to making the armament NATO compliant and increasing the operational safety.

The basic upgrade package for both platforms includes the ZSŁ-1 integrated communications suite, VHF, UHF and HF radios, and VOR/ILS, TACAN, MARKER and GPS navigation aids. The cockpits would be modified to accommodate the usage of NVGs. Modification as such may be seen also in case of a modernized control panel for the Mi-24, presented during the MSPO exhibition. The illumination of this panel is compliant with the 3rd Generation NVG systems, in line with the MIL STD-300 norm.

68 mm launchers under the Mi-24 stub-wing. Image Credit: J.Sabak

The helicopters would also be fitted with a NATO compliant IFF system. Battlefield safety would also be ensured by EWU exhaust gas dispensers and Ukrainian active IR jammer – KT-01 ADROS.

In case of the Mi-17 helicopter the modifications also include SAR equipment, GOODRICH 76379-040 winch, an entrance step, boom for a fast-rope system and rear gun station. 

68 mm launchers under the Mi-24 stub-wing, 68 mm rocket and a modified operator’s panel. Image Credit: J.Sabak

Mi-24 modification is much more complex, also including modernization of the armament. WZL No. 1 facility has also presented its IRS laser guided rockets launcher. In collaboration with ZM Tarnów a proposal has been developed to replace the Russian YakB-12.7 machine gun using the 12.7×108 mm round with a Polish WKM-Bm weapon using the .50 BMG ammunition which is NATO compliant. It is a weapon identical to the one applied in case of the W-3PL Głuszec helicopter. 

Image Credit: J.Sabak

Both helicopters use TW3-117 engines that are acquired by the WZL No. 1 S.A. facility from the Ukrainian Motor Sich company. The engines are available in a variant in which Russian made units have been replaced by components delivered by other manufacturers.

WZL No. 1 also deals with other, advanced projects. MSPO has been used as an opportunity to showcase the company’s portfolio, including a horizontal stabilizer of the “Grot-2” new generation combat trainer, wing for the “Hornet” UAV and aviation-grade electrical wiring harnesses created with the use of original technology developed by WZL No. 1. 

Read More: MSPO 2017: Polish Modernization Proposal for the Mi-24 Helicopter