New Helicopters for the Polish Armed Forces to Carry ATGMs. Dates of Delivery Set.
The AW149 helicopters procured at PZL Świdnik would also carry a rich array of armament and equipment, the Polish Ministry of Defence, and the Armament Agency announced. The new aircraft would be able to use guided missiles, among other weapons. This probably is tantamount to ATGMs.
“The AW149 helicopters in a configuration aligned with the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces would be fitted with observation systems, weapons, guided, and unguided missiles and rockets, and self-defence systems”, the Polish Ministry of Defence announced via its social media channels.
ATGMs may be the guided assets - that would be the key feature for the infantry that the helicopter would carry and support. Recently the Polish Ministry of Defence made a selection of the AGM-114R2 Hellfire missile for the helicopter-borne ATGM. Poland received a US-approval for the delivery of 800 missiles as such from US authorities.
Arming the AW149 with these would allow the helicopter to autonomously neutralize the enemy armour. Support as such is required for the air-mobile units.
It cannot be ruled out that the AW149 would also be able to launch the modified Piorun anti-aircraft missiles, providing the helicopters in question with the ability to defend themselves from enemy aviation assets.
Krzysztof Płatek, the spokesperson for the Armament Agency, added some additional information to the release issued by the MoD. He announced that the final assembly stage is currently underway, regarding the first two helicopters destined for the Polish Armed Forces - which is expected to happen in the second half of this year. Another 6 helicopters would be delivered in 2024.
The 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.