PZL Swidnik, the Polish subsidiary of Leonardo Helicopters, has opened a new production line that will build AW149 battlefield transports for the Polish Land Forces.

Warsaw in 2022 ordered 32 of the super-medium-twin helicopters, with the agreement specifying technology transfer and local production.

Polish army AW149

Source: Bartosz Glowacki

Warsaw will field a total of 32 armed AW149s by 2029

An initial batch of five AW149s will be delivered from Leonardo Helicopters’ main final assembly facility in Vergiate, Italy.

Engineers from PZL Swidnik were seconded to the Italian site to gain training on the type to enable domestic assembly of the remaining examples. Deliveries run until 2029.

In total, Poland is spending €1.7 billion ($1.85 billion) on the acquisition, which includes logistics support, spare parts, and training.

PZL Swidnik will also integrate country-specific systems and armaments – including guided and unguided rockets and missiles – plus will carry out future modernisation work and lifecycle support.

“The past year was a period of multi-million investments, including infrastructure, equipment and facilities, specifically in the building where full production of the AW149 is now located,” says Jacek Libucha, president of PZL Swidnik.

Leonardo Helicopters is also pitching the AW149 to the UK for its New Medium Helicopter requirement. If selected it would build the type at its plant in Yeovil, southwest England.

This article has been edited to correct a figure in the third paragraph.