Following a recent contract announcement between the Polish Government and PZL-Świdnik, it has been revealed that the former has selected GE Aerospace’s CT7-2E1 turboshaft engine to power its new 32-strong fleet of Leonardo AW149 multi-mission helicopters.
Poland’s selection of the 2,000shp (1,490kW)-rated powerplant was announced by GE on October 17, with the firm adding that the nation will receive 64 CT7-2E1 turboshafts for the 32 twin-engine AW149s currently on order from Leonardo, along with an unspecified number of spare engines. Leonardo is set to start AW149 deliveries to the Polish Army – where the type will be operated by the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, headquartered at Tomaszów Mazowiecki – in 2023.
Commenting on the selection of GE’s CT7-2E1 turboshaft, Brig Gen Artur Kuptel – head of Poland’s Armament Agency – highlighted that commonality with other military helicopters in Polish service was factored into the decision-making process. “After evaluating engine alternatives for the AW149 helicopter, we concluded that the CT7-2E1 engines best meet our needs from all aspects, such as performance, maintenance cost, reliability, and commonality with our existing Black Hawk and AW101 helicopters, as well as the future Apache helicopters,” he said.
GE’s CT7-2E1 turboshaft currently powers the majority of Leonardo AW149 and AW189 (the commercial derivative of the AW149) helicopters that are in service today. The powerplant shares a high-degree of commonality with the CT7-8E engine that powers the Polish Navy’s new AW101 fleet and the T700-701D turboshaft, which powers the locally manufactured Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopters operated by the Polish Special Forces and National Police service. GE has delivered more than 25,000 T700/CT7 engines to over 130 customers across more than 50 countries to date. The engine family has surpassed over 100 million total flight hours, with GE boasting that the T700/CT7 has “demonstrated excellent reliability in all operating environments.”
Ron Hutter, vice president of Turboshaft Engine Sales at GE Aerospace, added: “The T700/CT7 engine’s robust track record as a highly reliable, workhorse powerplant is indisputable. We are pleased that the Government of Poland has chosen the CT7-2E1 and will provide world-class support for these engines as well as other T700/CT7 engines that are currently operating in or will be delivered to Poland throughout this decade.”
The Polish Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced it had ordered 32 AW149s for the Polish Army on July 1, after a formal ceremony was held at Leonardo subsidiary PZL-Świdnik’s facility in Poland to sign the PLN8.25bn (€1.76bn) acquisition contract, which includes the 32 multi-mission helicopters and a logistics, training and simulator package. Under the terms of this deal, PZL-Świdnik will act as the prime contractor and the AW149s will be assembled at the firm’s production line in Świdnik.