Perkoz Programme Launched: Poland to Procure New Support Helicopters

Image: mjr pil Marcin Sieradzki
Image: mjr pil Marcin Sieradzki

The Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD has just announced the launch of technical dialogue, concerning the acquisition of 32 support helicopters, codename Perkoz. The aircraft are to be used for the purpose of providing combat support, transporting troops and equipment, and in ELINT and C2 roles. Tender submissions would be accepted by the end of May 2020.

According to the information released by the Armament Inspectorate, the Perkoz helicopters are to be procured in 3 variants:

  • Combat support/advanced training variant;
  • Command variant;
  • Reconnaissance and EW variant.

The details would be provided to the entities that would be approved to participate in the dialogue, in the form of an RFI. The ability to transport 5 soldiers with a full kit or 1,000 kg of cargo is the sole requirement that is known publicly as for now. The training capability requirement would force the suppliers to deliver aircraft with dual controls and two engines. The ability to carry out close support and recce missions would mean that the new helicopters should also be able to carry armament and optoelectronic sensor/targeting suite.

The dialogue that has been planned to take place between July and December 2020 is to cover the following matters of key importance:

  • Assessment whether the aircraft offered meet the preliminarily defined requirements;
  • Estimates pertaining to the cost of procurement, operation, and withdrawal;
  • Procurement timeline estimation;
  • Determination of conditions pertaining to delivery, training, and logistics;
  • Definition of handing-off and QA procedures pertaining to the military equipment in question;
  • Option of maintaining or establishing maintenance and servicing and manufacturing potential, should the task fall within the Basic National Security Interest category.

According to the requirements outlined, the Perkoz programme is aimed at replacing the Mi-2 helicopters stationed at the 41st Training Aviation Base. These rotary-wing assets are used to train the helicopter pilots at the Air Force Academy in Dęblin. They are also utilized for advanced training and other missions at the operational units.

Noteworthy, the Mi-2 helicopters have celebrated their 50th anniversary of service in 2017. The quantity of those aircraft is going down constantly, as they are reaching the final days of their lifecycles. Notably, in the early days of 2019, the Press Department of the Polish Ministry of Defence told us that due to the prioritized implementation of the Kruk programme, the Perkoz programme has not been embedded within the 2017-2026 Technical Modernization Plan. The above reason has also been the probable cause for the technical dialogue to begin, back in September 2018, concerning the modernization of the W-3WA Sokół helicopters. They would be upgraded to the W-3WA WPW version, destined to act as a close support helicopter.

Launching the dialogue on procurement of 32 Perkoz helicopters may be a symptom of another change in the decisionmaking process at the MoD. The urgent requirement to procure the Mi-2 replacement, COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and the F-35 acquisition may all mean that the Sokół platform would not be upgraded, while the Kruk acquisition would be postponed.