Świdnik Helicopter Production Facility Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary
It is obvious that aerospace and defence industry is one of the driving wheels of the economic development – as it was stated by the Minister of Science and Higher Education, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin, during a special Helicopter Conference which took place as a part of the 60th Anniversary event, held at the PZL Świdnik facility.As Krzysztof Krystowski, who is the Vice-President of the Finmeccanica Helicopter Division, the company which owns the PZL-Świdnik facility, stated, the story starting with the SM-1 rotorcraft is being continued within the framework of an international company now, both with the designs with their origin in Świdnik, as well as the new products of the company which has taken over the Polish facility.
“Our economy faces a challenge, meaning that we have to escape the mediocre growth and mediocre products trap, a trap in which the pay is also mediocre, or even low.This is caused, primarily, by the fact that the Polish economy has an imitative character” – as it was stated by Deputy Prime Minister Gowin, during his speech - “If we are to develop quicker, keep up with the most developed countries around the world, we need to change the profile of the Polish economy, drive it towards the phase of innovation.(...) Here, we do not mean to buy new products abroad” – Gowin added that the dynamically growing Polish aviation industry is an important element of so called Morawiecki Plan.
Gowin added: “It is obvious that aerospace and defence industry is one of the driving wheels of the economic development.We are in possession of excellent facilities, belonging to the largest global companies, we also have dozens of small, but rapidly developing firms”.
Krzysztof Krystowski, Vice-President of Finmeccanica Helicopter Division (previously known as Agusta Westland), which owns PZL-Świdnik facility, referred to the potential offered by the Polish aerospace industry which, in his opinion, cannot be ignored – “Poland, thanks to the fact that it has a manufacturer of helicopters, such as the PZL Świdnik company, within its territory, at its disposal, is one of the global leaders when it comes to production of the rotor-craft.And this is not an overestimation.We are among countries who are able to manufacture a helicopter, not just assemble it like an IKEA customer. (...) Poland is in possession of such capacity, thus, it is a unique country.Only five European countries manufacture helicopters.Others are trying hard to join this Premier League, in which we, thanks to the Świdnik company, have been playing for 60 years now.”
Within that context, SM-1, Mi-2, SW-4 or W-3 projects were indicated, as well as the potential participation in the prospective programmes and state of art initiatives. PZL Świdnik has developed its own designs, but it also has made significant contributions to the projects led by Finmeccanica Helicopter Division (Agusta Westland), such as AW109, AW119 and AW609.
This does not mean that works on own, original designs are going to be suspended. According to the information presented during the conference, one of the projects, which has just entered its final phase, is related to creation of new, composite rotor blades for the W-3 Sokół/Głuszec helicopter family. Moreover, works are undertaken to create an integrated digital avionics suite and implement other modernization initiatives.
Perfecting the light SW-4 Puszczyk helicopter is yet another pursued initiative. Here we mean also the unmanned SW-4 RUAS variant. Within the scope of the export marketing campaign, the helicopter in question is now known as AW009. It is planned that this design would be further developed. Digitalization of the avionics and replacement of the powerplant are the main points of the planned upgrade programme.
During the conference it was strongly stressed that thanks to the fact that Świdnik has 60 years of experience, it is well positioned within the market, manufacturing helicopters, as well as composite components for the leading aerospace companies all around the world.