Poland orders new helicopters, upgrades

Jan. 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM
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SWIDNIK, Poland, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- AgustaWestland's subsidiary in Poland will supply the Polish air force with four new helicopters and will upgrade 14 other aircraft.

The contracts received by PZL-Swidnik from the Polish Ministry of National Defense are worth more than $114.5 million.

"We are delighted to have secured these contracts with the Ministry of National Defense for the production of new helicopters and the cost effective upgrade of existing helicopters in the Polish (Defense Ministry's) inventory," said Mieczyslaw Majewski, president of the management board of PZL-Swidnik.

"These contracts recognize that in Swidnik we have the capability to develop, manufacture and upgrade helicopters, providing outstanding support to our customers."

The new helicopters to be provided are W-3WA Sokols, a twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. The variant ordered will be used by the Polish air force for transport of senior military and government leaders.

PZL-Swidnik the aircraft will be delivered at the end of next year.

Aircraft to be upgraded under a number of contracts from the Defense Ministry include four W-3 Sokols. The helicopters will be configured into the armed W-3PL Gluszec variant. Eight other air force W-3s will be overhauled and upgraded to Mi-2 aircraft, small and lightly armored transport helicopters that can also provide air support for ground troops when armed with rockets and cannons.

The remaining two helicopters, used for transporting important personnel, will be upgraded with Full Authority Digital Engine Control systems, PZL-Swidnik said.

Upgraded helicopters will be delivered to the air force in the second half of 2014.

PZL-Swidnik said the upgrade work for the second group of 32 helicopters Poland is modernizing.

"We are proud that the W-3WA Sokol has been selected for the important and high-profile VIP transport requirement. This selection and recent export successes confirms the W-3 Sokol as a highly attractive product in the market," said company Managing Director Nicola Bianco.

"The W-3PL Gluszec program also highlights PZL-Swidnik's ability to undertake complex major upgrade program."

"The next challenge for PZL-Swidnik is to provide the most attractive solution for the Polish Ministry of Defense's tender for 26 helicopters. We have the product, the overall capability, experience and the organization to properly serve the armed forces."

PZL-Swidnik was acquired by AgustaWestland in 2010. In addition to designing and building rotary aircraft, it also makes aircraft structures for companies around the world.

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