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Poland ready to advance CSAR helicopter project

Poland's defence ministry is processing two bids linked to a requirement for eight combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters, and is also starting to consider a future need for multirole rotorcraft.

Speaking at the MSPO exhibition in Kielce, Col Dariusz Pluta, chief of the defence ministry's armament inspectorate, says an Airbus Helicopters/Heli Invest Services consortium, PZL Mielec/Sikorsky and PZL Świdnik – part of Leonardo – are pursuing the CSAR deal with the special forces. The companies are promoting the H225M, S-70i Black Hawk and AW101, respectively.

Both bidders are also in contention for an opportunity to supply the Polish navy with eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and SAR helicopters, pitching the same types. A PZL Mielec/Sikorsky team is also pursuing the deal, offering the UH-60 Seahawk.

"Negotiations about CSAR helicopters were finished and in early September a RFI [request for information] will be sent to all bidders," Pluta says. "For the ASW/SAR helicopters, initial offers were submitted and we are starting technical dialogue."

Meanwhile, Warsaw's process for acquiring new medium multirole helicopters for its land forces is expected to commence with a concept phase for the "Perkoz" requirement in June 2018, with work to be complete by December 2019.

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