Poland orders four choppers for its Navy

Poland orders four choppers for its Navy Wojtek Jargiło/PAP

A PLN 1.65 billion (EUR 430 million) contract for the delivery of four AW101 helicopters for the Polish Navy was signed in Świdnik, south-east Poland, on Friday.

The new helicopters, to be delivered to the end of 2022, have the capacity to combat submarines and take part in combat search and rescue operations. The British-Italian construction produced by the Leonardo group, which owns WSK PZL-Świdnik aviation plant, was the only machine offered in the tender after the withdrawal from the competition of Airbus Helicopters.

The value of an offset agreement, signed in early April, reaches over PLN 395.8 million (EUR 92.3 million).

The AgustaWestland AW101, powered by three turboshaft engines, is manufactured at factories in Yeovil, England. According to the Defence Ministry, the Świdnik plant will contribute elements of AW101's structure.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, who signed the contract, said he welcomes the fact that orders linked with the modernisation of the Polish Armed Forces are directed to domestic plants and that the Świdnik plant received a chance of further development.

Meanwhile, PM Mateusz Morawiecki attending the ceremony noted that the new equipment will "significantly increase Poland's armed forces" adding that the helicopters will become a "vital element of our security architecture."

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo Group CEO, noted that the Friday agreement confirms that Poland is a strategic market for Leonardo and added that a number of structural elements for the AW101 for customers around the world will be produced at the Świdnik plant. The Leonardo executive recalled that Swidnik is already involved in the production of other types of helicopters manufactured by the group.