More detail has emerged on Airbus Helicopters’ plans to meet the offset requirements of its contract with the Polish ministry of defence for the supply of 50 H225M Caracals.
Airbus Helicopters will establish a production facility in the city of Lodz to assemble the 11t-class rotorcraft that are destined for all three branches of Warsaw’s armed forces.
However, the initial 19 examples of the H225M will be manufactured at the airframer’s main factory for the type in Marignane, France, says Dominique Maudet, executive vice-president global business and services.
Assuming its contract with Warsaw is finalised in the autumn, Airbus Helicopters will break ground at the new facility – to be set up in partnership with Polish firm WZL-1 – later this year, says Maudet.
As the first batch of helicopters will be French-built, the company will use the factory to produce an equivalent number of H225Ms for the export market.
“It will really become the Polish helicopter centre,” says Maudet. “We will be producing Caracals for some other countries in Poland.”
It will be a third production line for the H225M, behind existing sites in France and Brazil. Maudet describes it as the “fifth pillar” of Airbus Helicopters, and says in future it will also offer other design and engineering capabilities.
Airbus Helicopters is also planning to bid on a forthcoming Polish requirement for 32 attack rotorcraft, which it expects to be launched in the middle of the year. It will offer the Tiger for the contest, which would also be assembled at the Lodz site.
Engine supplier Turbomeca will also transfer some production for the Makila turboshafts that power the H225M to a new site in Sędziszów Małopolski, where sister company Hispano-Suiza already has a facility.