As expected, three bidders will fight it out in a contest to supply 70 multirole helicopters to Poland’s armed forces.
Warsaw on 30 December confirmed that consortia led by Airbus Helicopters, PZL Swidnik – the Polish subsidiary of AgustaWestland – and Sikorsky had all submitted bids to the nation’s defence ministry.
Responses to the tri-service requirement had previously been scheduled for the end of November, but were pushed back by a month at the request of AgustaWestland and Sikorsky.
In fact, the latter had previously suggested it would not bid unless the requirements were altered.
The ministry says it will now examine the competing helicopters – the EC725, AW149 and S-70i Black Hawk/S-70B Seahawk – before choosing which rotorcraft to take forward for testing.
Additional study of the industrial offsets proposed by the bidders will also be carried out, it says, ahead of a potential contract award in the second half of 2015.
Shortly before the defence ministry’s announcement, AgustaWestland unveiled the signature of several tentative offset deals, which it says are worth around €800 million ($954 million), as part of its overall offset package which it claims amounts to “billions” of euros.
It plans to work with four Polish companies – Fabryka Broni Radom, Military Aviation Works No. 1 in Łódź, Military Aviation Works No. 2 in Bydgoszcz and ZM Tarnów – to deliver as many as 50 offset projects.
These include the fabrication of helicopter subassemblies, the creation of overhaul facilities for major airframe, transmission and avionics components, and the design, production and overhaul of weapons and weapon systems for the rotorcraft.
In addition, AgustaWestland says that if it wins the deal it will establish “a global production and development centre” for the AW149 in Poland, “opening up global export opportunities” for the 8.3t helicopter.