The Polish Armed Forces is reviewing bids for an initial 70 helicopter requirement, with a contract expected to be awarded at the end of this year or start of 2014.
The acquisition is part of an ambitious renewal of the Polish military’s entire helicopter fleet, with 200 aircraft expected to be purchased over the next two decades.
Speaking at the International Military Helicopter 2013 in London on 30 January, Brig Gen Krzysztof Mitrega, commander of the First Army Aviation Brigade, Polish Army, said the development plan of the Polish Armed Forces called for 70 new medium helicopters across the three services from 2013 to 2022.
Tenders for the requirement were submitted on 7 May 2012 and a downselect to one or more bidders will be negotiated before the end of 2013. The MoD appears to be working to a tight timetable with the first aircraft forecast to be delivered in 2014.
‘According to the development plan of the Polish Armed Forces 2013 to 2022, we should gain 70 different helicopters based on a common platform – medium transport helicopters, search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare,’ Mitrega said.
‘We plan also to gain 12 attack helicopters for land forces and the air force, as we are creating a squadron of special forces which will consist of some attack helicopters and some transport helicopters. For now it will be Mi-24 and Mi-7 but in the future we have to exchange the Mi-24 because of the end of life of that platform,’ he added.
He noted that settling on a replacement for the Mi-24 would be difficult, with crews in Afghanistan appreciating the aircraft’s armament, armouring, cargo space and ability to carry passengers.
For the wider requirement, the armed forces are planning on procuring 90 utility transport, 54 medium, 32 attack and 24 heavy transport helicopters in total for a total of 200 aircraft by 2035.