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Nine Potential Bidders in the Kondor Embarked Helicopter Programme

SH-2G(I). Image Credit: Kaman
SH-2G(I). Image Credit: Kaman

The technical dialogue concerning the “Multi-role Naval Embarked Helicopter for the Polish Navy” involves 9 entities, as the Armament Inspectorate reports. Acquisition of the helicopter platforms for the embarked role is urgent. Kaman SH-2G platforms operated by the Navy now should be withdrawn due to the high level of wear that translates into low availability and readiness. The number of available aircraft is also insufficient to carry out all of the missions.

Kondor embarked helicopter programme concerns procurement of 4-8 helicopters that would offer ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) and RWC (Radar Weapons Control) capabilities for the maritime systems. The above means that the rotary-winged aircraft in question would detect and designate targets for the Kongsberg NSM anti-ship missiles operated by the Naval Missile Unit and Saab RBS-15 missiles used by the Orkan-class vessels.

According to Major Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman of the Armament Inspectorate, 9 entities submitted their proposals concerning the technical dialogue pertaining to the “Multi-role Naval Embarked Helicopter for the Polish Navy”, meeting the deadline announced on 2nd January 2020 - 21st January 2020:

  1. Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A.
  2. Kaman Aerospace Corporation.
  3. Bell Textron Inc.
  4. General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada Inc.
  5. WSK “PZL-Świdnik” S.A.
  6. Enamor Sp. z o.o.
  7. Airbus Helicopters SAS.
  8. Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o.
  9. Elbit Systems Ltd.

As we can see, both Lockheed Martin’s PZL Mielec, as well as Leonardo Helicopters’ PZL Świdnik facilities would be placing their offers, along with the Airbus Helicopters and Bell Textron companies. What still remains an open question is whether the offers would refer to helicopters weighing less than 6.5 tonnes. Leonardo has declared, however, that the Świdnik-based facility would be offering the AW159 platform that falls within that weight limit. PGZ also requested to be a part of the dialogue. It is possible that the Group is willing to establish collaboration with a foreign partner (or partners) within the framework of the programme.

One should also note emergence of Kaman Aerospace Corporation that manufactured the SH-2G Super Seasprite platform operated by the Polish Navy now, along with General Dynamics Mission Systems - Canada Inc., specializing in providing mission equipment for these aircraft. Both entities were involved in modernization and extension of lifecycles of the SH-2G(I) helicopters operated by New Zealand (still in service) and also with regards to the helicopters sold to Peru back in 2014. This may mean that the aforesaid entities would offer an in-depth overhaul thus extending the lifecycle and probably upgrading the currently operated SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters owned by the Polish Navy, along with potential option of acquiring more helicopters as such, second-hand.