Leonardo’s PZL Swidnik subsidiary has detailed plans to develop a next-generation multi-role helicopter based on its legacy W-3 Sokol platform.
Developed in conjunction with other Polish companies and research and development centres, the design features new main rotorblades and a digital avionics suite including glass cockpit avionics, head-up displays, a synthetic vision system and night-vision goggle compatibility.
Other features include an electro-optical surveillance system, new flight management system, terrain avoidance warning technology and a four-axis digital autopilot.
Full authority digital engine control and health and usage monitoring systems for the type will be sourced from Leonardo’s AW169.
Maximum take-off weight will increase to 6,600kg (14,500lb) from 6,400kg, enabling additional payload to be carried. Weapon options include air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, 70mm rocket pods, 12.7mm and 20mm cannon pods, and door-mounted 12.7mm machine guns.
Now being offered as an update package for the Polish armed forces, the modernised W-3 will also be equipped with an integrated defensive aids system.
“A key significance in the development of the new generation W-3 concept is through the transfer of technology,” says Leonardo Helicopters managing director Gian Piero Cutillo. This will provide users “operational autonomy, and the broadest possible involvement of Polish industry”, he adds.