Two bidders await Polish tanker battle

Warsaw
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Poland expects to make decisions affecting several air force programmes by the end of September, including one that seeks to buy two tanker/transport aircraft, according to defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

"We are watching the market and we want to acquire this type of aircraft, capable not only for cargo transport and air-to-air refuelling, but also medevac missions and VIP transport," Siemoniak said.

While an official tender has yet to be launched, two bidders participated at the MSPO exhibition, in Kielce in Poland from 3-6 September.

A consortium including Polish companies Bumar, Industrial Development Agency and LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services and Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek unit are offering to acquire and convert two used Boeing 767-200ERs. These would be made available for use by the armed forces, with industry to perform maintenance and logistics support activities, and provide personnel training services.

A first aircraft would be available 34 months after a contract signing, with the other to follow 10 months later, the consortium says. The fleet would be operational for a minimum of 20 years.

Airbus Military promoted its A330 multirole tanker/transport (below).

 

Airbus Military

"We are starting talks with the Polish MND [Ministry of National Defence]," said Agustin Bennasar, the company's regional sales director. "We are interested in not only an aircraft sale, but also in establishing industrial cooperation," he added.

Bennasar said maintenance of the aircraft could be performed at the Airbus Military EADS PZL Warszawa-Okecie facility. A new service centre was opened at the site last November to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the Polish air force's Airbus Military C295 medium transports. The first overhauled example was returned to operational use in late August.