Eurocopter chief executive Lutz Bertling has outlined his company's bid to sell the EC725 to the Polish armed forces, following Warsaw's decision to increase the scale of its contest to up to 70 rotorcraft.
"Look at the specification of the missions this helicopter has to perform and the helicopters it will replace - it is relatively obvious the EC725, in terms of mission performance, will be leading the competition," Bertling says.
Speaking while attending an EC725 assembly line opening event at the Itajubá site of Eurocopter's Brazilian subsidiary Helibras on 2 October, Bertling said technical cooperation will be another key element of the company's Polish bid. As a rule of thumb, any order for more than 50 units "is reason enough to go for intensive technical cooperation in a country", he says.
Poland wants to buy 48 aircraft to replace its army's current Mil Mi-8/17-series transports, plus 12 for navy and 10 for air force applications. AgustaWestland company PZL Swidnik is offering the AW149 and Sikorsky the S-70i with its PZL Mielec subsidiary for the potentially $3.1 billion requirement.
"The gain for Polish industry might be higher than if they go for [AgustaWestland or Sikorsky], who have a presence in the country already," Bertling says. "These guys will not walk out, of course, but you will not get much more. We are absolutely ready to discuss with the Polish government about assembling these helicopters in Poland and involving Polish industry in the manufacture of systems and components for them."
Four Eurocopter-assembled EC725s have been delivered to Brazil so far from a tri-service order for 50 of the type.