Polish SOF Receive Black Hawk Helicopters
S-70i Black Hawk helicopters have been handed off to the Polish Special Operations component. The ceremony was also attended by President Andrzej Duda and head of the MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak.
The aircraft have been ordered in January this year, within the framework of the “urgent operational requirement” procurement procedure. Agreement concluded with the PZL Mielec facility, subordinated to Lockheed Martin, covers the acquisition of four helicopters along with the equipment. The procurement also includes training and logistics support package and extra equipment that is to be fitted onto the new aircraft after the handing off actually takes place.
The agreement has a value of PLN 683.4 million, whereas a single helicopter has a pricetag, with its base equipment package, of PLN 75 million. The release issued by the MoD states that “the supplier is to meet a commitment to guarantee maintenance of proper technical condition of the helicopter throughout the term of their operation”. Unofficially we have also found out that the contract also envisages option of delivery of another 4 helicopters.
Black Hawk helicopters handed off to the Polish Special Operations component feature a basic equipment set now. They have been fitted with 7.62 mm Miniguns and .50-cal. machine guns and fast-rope system as well. Following the handing-off the helicopters would undergo retrofitting to meet the requirements of the user and receive the equipment that is to form the final configuration. This configuration is kept confidential by the MoD. “Details pertaining to the weapons and specialized equipment constitutes information that shall not be published which is a common standard around the world, when it comes to the special operations component”, the MoD’s release reads.
The helicopters procured within the framework of the urgent operational requirement are the first medium multi-role helicopters that are to be operated by the Polish military. So far the Polish forces have been operating the Mi-8/17 transport helicopters, light Mi-2 platforms and light multi-role W-3 Sokół helicopters. The fleet also includes training platforms (SW-4, Gabri) and special purpose aircraft (Mi-14, Mi-24).