Polish Mi-8 to Remain in Service. PLN 100 Million for Maintenance

Image Credit: J. Sabak
Image Credit: J. Sabak

3rd Regional Logistics Base has just launched a negotiation procedure pertaining to overhauls of the Mi-8 helicopters at the WZL-1 facility in Łódź. The value of the agreement pertaining to repairs of the helicopters and the onboard equipment is said to be higher than PLN 99.5 million (net).

According to the 3rd Regional Logistics Base and its Aviation Tech Division, a single-source procurement procedure has been launched on 8th April 2020 - the contractor was invited to negotiate the deal. The decision to carry out the procedure without a tender has a basis of substantial and procedural nature, the justification reads. 

WZL-1 S.A. is the sole and exclusive owner of the overhaul documentation entitled “Technical Conditions of Main Overhaul of the Mi-8 Helicopters (2nd edition), archive no. 370/14 and Bulletin no. P/O/U/R/4831/E/2006 with Annex 2 pertaining to extension of calendar technical lifecycles for all variants of the Mi-8 helicopters, and Bulletin no. P/3837/E/93 with Annex No. 8, pertaining to determining of the lifecycles for the Mi-8 helicopters, their systems, subsystems, generators and hardware and parts developed by WZL-1 S.A., that shall serve as guidelines for the repairs herein. Furthermore, WZL-1 S.A. also remains in possession of required technical expertise and know-how required to carry out the work assigned. No alternative/replacement solution exists that would make it possible to implement the order in question.

Considering the circumstances, a procedure was launched to negotiate the deal with a single entity. The estimated agreement value is 99.57 million zlotys (net). The work is required to continue the operations of the Mi-8 helicopters.

These aircraft are still in service. They have been manufactured between 1971 and 1983 which means that they are around 40 years old. They should have been withdrawn or upgraded a long time ago. A similar scheme was adopted in the case of the German CH-53G platform for instance - the German helicopters have a similar age.

Currently, no decision has been made to rectify the matter, with the lifecycles being extended based on competencies of the domestic industry. The reason for the above is simple - no choice has been made with regards to Mi-8 replacement. This is a ramification of the cancelled H225M Caracal helicopter deal. Currently, the obsolete Mi-8T fleet, along with the Mi-17 helicopters, form the core of the Polish military rotary-winged assets.