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Warsaw still pursuing naval and attack helicopter buys

Poland has moved to clarify its position regarding the acquisition of new military helicopters, after earlier having signalled it would cancel an acquisition for special forces-roled examples.

The ministry of defence says that it has not abandoned a modernisation programme, but has simply switched its priorities due to budget constraints.

"The purchase of helicopters for the armed forces is an important investment in the security of Poland, therefore it must be based on extremely careful analysis," it says.

"We have to clearly specify which helicopters we need in the first place, and which purchase can still wait."

Its initial priority will be to replace the four 28-year-old Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprites that are operated for anti-submarine warfare missions, the defence ministry says.

Expressions of interest had been received from Airbus Helicopters/Heli Invest with the H225M, and from Leonardo Helicopters/PZL Swidnik pitching the AW101; final offers will be solicited shortly, says the ministry, ahead of a contract signing "this year".

In addition, Warsaw will "in a few months" begin the acquisition process for 32 new attack helicopters, the ministry says.

"The tender procedure will be launched in a few months and we plan to sign the contract next year," it says.

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