Armed Forces

Sikorsky Offers Black Hawks and Sea Hawks in the Polish Helicopter Tender

  • Ilustracja:

Sikorsky and PZL Mielec companies offer two variants of helicopter, based on a shared S-70 platform in the multi-role helicopter tender which is being conducted by the Polish Armed Forces. The helicopters are the utility S-70i Black Hawks along with their naval variant – S-70B Sea Hawk. 

Information related to the offer placed by Sikorsky back in December 2014 has been released during a special press conference by the President of the PZL Mielec company,  Janusz Zakręcki.

PZL offers two reputable products: S-70i Black Hawk, which is manufactured here, at the Polish Aviation Works, along with S-70B Seahawk. (…) This offer includes 10 million accumulated flight hours, along with 1.5 million of flight hours which have been gathered in combat. These products are being constantly modernized, and highly demanded within the market.

Janusz Zakręcki

In the Zakręcki’s opinion the first helicopters for the Polish Army could be delivered as early as within 12 months from being certified. S-70i Black Hawk helicopters have been assembled by the Mielec-based facility since 2010, and they have been supplied to 6 foreign customers so far. It is the latest variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk multi-role helicopters family, equipped with a new propulsion system, which is more powerful, along with a digital avionics suite and modernized structure of the airframe.

S-70B Sea Hawk is an export variant of the naval helicopter, based on the version used by the US Navy -  SH-60B Sea Hawk. It is being used by 10 countries all around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Denmark or Japan. In order to tailor the helicopter for naval use and stationing it on the sea vessels, The naval derrivative features some major changes, however it shares 83% of its airframe design with the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

The most important differences include replacement of the rear gear wheel – now it is placed more than 3 meters up front of its original position. Secondly, the main door has been placed solely on the right side of the fuselage, and finally the helicopter features fixed pylons for the armament. When it comes to changes which are less visible, additional anti-corrosive protection of the T700 engines, folded rotor blades or more powerful sources of electricity used to power larger quantity of devices used e.g. for ASW tasks, are the most important ones.  For the needs of the Polish customers, S-70B variant is also to be manufactured locally, in Mielec.

The tender related to procurement of the multi-role helicopters, based on a joint platform, has been initiated by the Polish Ministry of Defence back in 2012, and initially 26 examples were to be procured. Currently the deal is to provide 70 helicopters for the Land Forces, Navy and the Air Force. Offers have been placed by three bidders, and the tender proceedings are to be concluded this year. Besides the Sikorsky Company, with the Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters the remaining bidders are the Airbus Helicopters, offering the EC725 Caracal helicopters and PZL Świdnik, a company belonging to AgustaWestland, which proposes its new design, known under the  AW149 designation.