Poland’s Ministry of Defence has ordered 32 AW149 multi-role helicopters for operation by the Polish Army. A formal ceremony was held at Leonardo subsidiary PZL-Świdnik’s facility in Poland on July 1 to sign the PLN8.25bn (€1.76bn) contract, which includes a logistics, training and simulator package.
The logistics package includes a stock of spares and consumable parts, as well as equipment for ground handling. The training and simulator package includes comprehensive training of pilots and technical personnel and the delivery of a set of advanced simulators and training equipment. PZL-Świdnik will act as the prime contractor and the helicopters will be assembled on its production line in Świdnik. Leonardo will therefore undertake further investments in its Polish facility in addition to approximately €1bn already invested since 2010, Deliveries are scheduled to take place between 2023 and 2029.
The multi-role helicopters will be used for transporting of soldiers and air support of ground troops. They will be configured to allow them to be used for casualty evacuation, search and rescue in combat operations and for the transport of goods and supplies. They will be equipped with observation systems, small arms (7.62mm guns mounted in the forward cabin windows and podded 12.7mm guns on external hardpoints), guided and unguided rockets and missiles (including unspecified anti-tank weapons and Hydra missiles) and self-defence systems.
The AW149 will be subordinated to 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, headquartered in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The unit serves as air assault troops, enabling the formation to be transported to battle by helicopters in large numbers. Nowadays is not known which type it will success – probably W-3 Sokol. AW149 will carry out missions including troop transport and air support and their equipment will also allow them to be used for casualty evacuation, combat search and rescue and for the transport of goods and supplies.
The AW149s will be operated as part of the Polish Army’s 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, which is headquartered in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The Brigade includes the 1st Aviation Squadron based Leźnica-Wielka and 7th Aviation Squadron at Tomaszów Mazowiecki.