Poland launches military helicopter tender

Warsaw
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Poland's defence ministry has launched a tender for 26 new helicopters to equip the nation's three armed services, with a common platform being sought.

Announced on 29 March, the requirement is for 16 tactical transports for the land forces, four anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and three maritime search and rescue (SAR) helicopters for the navy and three SAR examples for the air force.

The proposed deal will also cover the provision of logistics support and training services, with a requirement for five simulators having previously been identified.

Offers should be submitted by 7 May, before technical negotiations to be held between the bidders and the defence ministry. This will be followed by the submission of final offers and flight tests of the candidate aircraft.

Warsaw wants to field its first 19 of the selected aircraft by November 2015, with six more to follow within 12 months and the navy's last ASW example to be delivered by November 2017.

"The tender will be directed to manufacturers that are able to produce helicopters in Poland," says defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

The main contenders for the requirement are Sikorsky company PZL Mielec, offering a version of the S-70i Black Hawk with an increased volume of Polish-sourced equipment and AgustaWestland subsidiary PZL Swidnik, which is promoting the AW149. The latter company says it could use mission equipment from the AgustaWestland Super Lynx to meet the navy's ASW requirements.