On Tuesday, 12th May, another stage of the procedure, the aim of which is to acquire the multi-role helicopters for the Polish Armed Forces, began. Within the scope of that stage, the H225M/EC-725 Caracal helicopter is going to be involved in verification tests at the 33rd Powidz Transport Aviation Base – as it was said by the spokesperson of the Polish Ministry of Defence, col. Jacek Sońta.
The aim of the procedure is to verify the helicopter parameters indicated in the tender requirements. The process will be focused, among other issues, on the performance, equipment, Caracal’s structure and the aviation standards compliance. The tests are going to last until the beginning of June. Col. Sońta stresses the fact that a representative of the trade unions is to be involved in the testing process.
The Ministry of Defence stated, on 21st April, that the H225M/EC-725 Caracal helicopter, offered by the “Program EC-725 CARACAL-Polska” consortium, consisting of the Airbus Helicopters SAS and Heli Invest Sp. z o.o. Services S.K.A companies, was accepted for the further stages of the acquisition procedure. The Sikorsky International Operations Inc, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. consortium, offering the Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters, and the PZL Świdnik company, offering the AW-149 helicopters, were not accepted to take part in the further stages of the tender.
According to the current plans, the Polish army is willing to acquire 50 helicopters, including 16 transport/multi-role examples and 34 examples in specialized variants. Another 20 helicopters would be acquired via a separate procedure, after 2022, in order to replace the Mi-17. The deliveries of the helicopters are scheduled to start from 2017. The 7th Special Forces Squadron is the unit which will receive the new rotorcraft first.