July 12 (UPI) -- Leonardo and Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa signed a letter of intent for both companies to design the the new helicopter class AW249.
The program, announced Wednesday by Leonardo, aims to provide the government of Poland with a new combat helicopter.
"This agreement is a significant milestone in the ongoing cooperation between Italian and Polish defense industries, involving the latter in the most important ongoing combat helicopter program," Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director of Leonardo Helicopters, said in a press release.
"Leonardo, through PZL-Swidnik, has been working with the Polish Ministry of National Defense for years and this agreement opens new avenues of response to the Kruk program, allowing us to address the future of Polish defense alongside PGZ," Cutillo said.
The AW249 is designed for close support, escort and other missions and is expected to be heavily armed. It will also be used to coordinate unmanned aerial vehicles.
It will feature a turreted gun, six hard points for external weaponry such air-to-ground missiles, guided or unguided rockets and fuel tanks, among other assets.