Polish AW101 Offset: Execution Agreements Concluded

Image Credit: Juliusz Sabak
Image Credit: Juliusz Sabak

Execution agreements have been concluded at WZL No. 1 in Łódź, with regards to offset commitments associated with the Polish AW101 acquisition. WZL No. 1 and Gdansk University of Technology have both signed the documents in question and they are now getting ready to work on the offset arrangements. 

The agreements aimed at executing the offset commitments, as well as license agreements related to acquisition of the AW101 ASW/SAR helicopters for the Polish Navy, were signed on Wednesday, 8th January in Łódź, at the WZL Nr 1 facility belonging to the PGZ Group. The company is one of the primary beneficiaries of the associated offset deal. 

The agreements allow us to carry out maintenance with regards to the procured helicopters and to obtain know-how and tech related to maintenance procedures. WZL-1 S.A. is a “complete” company that meets all of the highest quality standards, also having the international AS 9100 quality certification. It is open towards new challenges with its well-trained staff that is the most important asset guaranteeing implementation of the present undertaking.

Marcin Nocuń, President of the Management Board at WZL-1 S.A.

 The offset agreement indicates WZL Nr 1 S.A. as the maintenance support centre for the Polish military helicopters. The above means that nine offset projects would be implemented at WZL Nr 1, the goal of which is to establish maintenance capacity at WZL-1 S.A. with regards to the AW101 Merlin platform and its equipment.

Artist’s vision of the Polish AW101. Image: Leonardo Helicopters

The offset agreement signed in the early April 2019 has a value of PLN 395 million and pertains to nine offset-related commitments. Alongside the Łódź-based facility, Centre for Naval Military Technologies of the Gdansk University of Technology would be the second beneficiary of the offset deal.

Back in April 2019, Deputy Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Wojciech Skurkiewicz stated that the Agreement would allow for activities as follows:

  • Establishing a licensed helicopter maintenance support centre at WZL-1 that would be dealing with administrating, controlling and coordinating maintenance, servicing and repair processes also having electronic, interactive technical documentation at its disposal;
  • Continuation of the technical assistance by the offset providers until the end of the offset agreement, namely - for a decade;
  • Carrying out Organizational Level and Intermediate Level maintenance, usually done by the user, mainly through preparation, pre-flight maintenance and post-flight maintenance, as well as installation, dismantling and checking of the AW101 systems and assemblies;
  • Carrying out Depot Level maintenance for the helicopter acoustic system, usually performed at specialized facilities;
  • Carrying out Depot level maintenance of the signalling system;
  • Carrying out Depot level maintenance of the sonobuoys;
  • Transferring know-how and technologies for painting the AW101 helicopter.
  • Transferring know-how and technologies for balancing the AW101 airframe.

Agreement pertaining to delivery of the AW101 helicopters has been signed in late April 2019. PZL Świdnik facility belonging to Leonardo Helicopters is the main contractor. The contract has a gross value of PLN 1.65 billion and it is a result of a procedure started back in 2017, aimed at meeting the urgent operational requirements. The contract envisages acquisition of 4 AW101 helicopters - this is aimed at replacing the obsolete Mi-14PŁ ASW and Mi-14PŁ/R SAR helicopters.

Recently the Armament Inspectorate also initiated a technical dialogue related to acquisition of four to eight lighter embarked helicopter platforms for the Polish Navy, within the framework of the Kondor programme. Should eight helicopters as such be acquired, they could potentially take over some of the ASW tasks assigned to Mi-14, thus operationally complementing the AW101.