Poland considers the offset agreement negotiation with the Airbus Company, pertaining to procurement of the multi-role Caracal helicopters for the Polish Army, to have come to an end. The French party, according to the announcement issued by the Ministry of Development, did not present an offset offer which would duly secure the economic and security interests of Poland – as the issued statement claims. The value of the contract is defined as about PLN 13.5 billion. The offset commitments, defined in line with the Offset Act, should be at least of equal value – as the Ministry of Development states.
The release stresses the fact that the Polish party was “fully open” towards reaching solutions that could potentially be accepted by both Parties of the negotiation. At the same time it was noted that lack of coherence between the stances exhibited by both Parties makes it “impossible to reach a compromise”. Thus, prospects of further talks have been seen as “redundant”.
The Ministry of Development also notes that it is an “absolute” priority for the Polish government to guarantee national security and ensure that conditions exist for the Polish industry to be expanded and developed. Moreover, the Ministry recalls the fact that the offset agreement negotiation began on 30th September 2015, once the former leadership of the Ministry took final decisions pertaining to procurement of the multi-role helicopters for the Polish Army.
The decision to select the H225M/EC-725 Caracal helicopter as the winner of the tender was announced by the former Polish Ministry of Defence back in April last year. The offer has been qualified to be further proceeded, while the two remaining offers have been rejected, as they did not meet the defined requirements. Alongside the “EC-725 Caracal-Polska” consortium, involving the Airbus Helicopters SAS and Heli Invest Sp. z o.o. Services S.K.A. companies, the tender also has seen participation of the consortium formed by Sikorsky International Operations Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o., offering the Black Hawk helicopters. Moreover, PZL Świdnik company also submitted its offer, proposing the AW-149 design.
Selection of the Caracal has been criticized by the representatives of the Ministry of Defence, including the Defence Minister, Antoni Macierewicz, himself. In November 2015 Macierewicz declared that the final decision pertaining to the contract would be dependent on the offset negotiation which, as we know, ended up in a fiasco.