The companies submitted a proposal in August. Their offer was also intended to meet a national requirement for two aircraft able to perform VIP transport tasks. Warsaw last year included a 450 million zlotys ($155 million) allocation for a tanker purchase in its preliminary budget for 2008-12, but later cancelled its plans due to a lack of funds.
Speaking at the MSPO show in Kielce, Bumar and IAI representatives said a first aircraft would be available for delivery within a 12-month period, with a second to follow inside another year. Both would achieve full operational capability in less than 36 months from a contract signature, they say.
IAI would convert two 767s for the tanker-transport mission by installing additional fuel tanks on the lower deck, and by integrating two underwing hose and drogue refuelling pods and a flying boom. The aircraft would also receive IAI-developed self-protection equipment already installed aboard commercial aircraft.
© Bartosz Glowacki
Bumar would establish a new company to be responsible for the strategic lift of personnel, equipment and cargo, plus medical evacuation tasks during expeditionary and humanitarian missions. It would also deliver in-flight refuelling training for the Polish air force's Lockheed Martin F-16 pilots, plus VIP transport services.
The company would be responsible for training pilots and ground crew, and for servicing and maintaining the aircraft, which could also serve as airborne command and control platforms. The assets would be made available on a pay-per-use basis, with spare capacity to be offered to third parties.
Other groups to have expressed interest in participating in the project include LOT Polish Airlines, which would support personnel training and aircraft maintenance, and the PKO BP bank, which would help in financing a deal.