Poland has commenced performance verification tests of the Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal as part of its effort to acquire a total of 50 new rotorcraft for all three branches of its armed forces.
Conducted at its 33rd air transport base in Powidz, the trials are the final step in the evaluation process ahead of a likely contract signing later this year, assuming the 11t-class helicopter meets the claims of its manufacturer.
Warsaw on 21 April announced that it had selected the Caracal for the multirole helicopter requirement ahead of the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk/S-70B Seahawk and the AgustaWestland AW149.
Airbus Helicopters provided a H225M destined for the Brazilian navy for the evaluation efforts. That was armed with twin door-mounted machine guns. The airframer displayed other possible armaments including rocket pods and the Eurotorp MU90 torpedo.
During the tests, 32 parameters covering four main areas will be verified. These include platform commonality – including component interchangeability – helicopter design, on-board equipment and performance.
Performance characteristics to be checked include speed, ceiling, endurance, operational radius and payload.
The H225M will be flown in both daylight and at night, and in visual meteorological and instrument meteorological conditions. During these missions Polish pilots with combat experience will be present in the cockpit.
Poland has assigned 28 individuals to the trials, drawn from both the military and the defence ministry.
Finalisation of the Zl13 billion ($3.5 billion) contract is anticipated in the third quarter, with deliveries commencing in 2017.