A Polish Mil Mi-2R 'Hoplite' of 56 KPSB. Photo by Jerry Gunner
celebrates its golden anniversary this year, we’d like to extend congratulations to another member of the half-century club: the Polish Armed Forces Mil Mi-2 from PZL-Świdnik.
In 1967, the Mi-2 was introduced into service in Poland. It remained there for nearly 40 years, the Leonardo company said, with more than 300 delivered to the forces. It was designed by Mikhail Mil’s office as a successor to the SM-1. The multirole, twin-shaft turbine rotorcraft has been mass-produced since 1965, with 5,500 manufactured — exclusively by PZL-Świdnik. A civilian variant of the Mi-2 was also designed. It was used in operations including agriculture, training, transport, rescue and more.
Poland’s 56th Air Base in Inowroclaw celebrated its 54th anniversary. During celebrations, a Mi-2 Alley, a demonstration of 11 in-service helicopters performed. One of the helicopters boasted a paint scheme, which PZL-Świdnik helped accomplish.
“The painting scheme combines history with the present times. One half of the fuselage features camouflage painting, which was present on military Mi-2 helicopters still by the end of 1990s, while the other half of the fuselage features new-uniform, dark green painting, applied presently to most helicopters of the Polish Air Force,” said Marcin Sieradzki, one of the organizers and a pilot. “The two painting schemes are divided by a stylized figure of a Greek warrior — a hoplite. In the times of the Cold War, [NATO’s code name] for the Mi-2 helicopter was ‘Hoplite,’ which explains the Greek soldier figure.”
The 56th Air Base in Inowroclaw is the oldest in Poland, according to PZL-Świdnik. The unit currently quarters PZL-Świdnik rotorcraft, including eight W-3PLs and 19 Mi-2s