The AW 101
(Photo: Leonardo Helicopters)
Amid a military modernization effort by Poland to counter possible Russian revanchism, the Polish Military of Defense has signed a more than $424 million contract with Leonardo Helicopters for four AW101 multi-role maritime helicopters and related logistics and training.
In January, Poland signed a more than $180 million contract with Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky for four S-70i Black Hawk helicopters for Polish special forces.
Leonardo said on Apr. 26 it is supplying the AW101 helicopters to Poland through the company's subsidiary there, PZL-Świdnik, which Leonardo said "plays a significant role in the production of all the AW101s ordered worldwide."
The AW101 is already in service in other NATO nations.
Deliveries of the helicopters to Poland are expected to run through 2022. The AW101s are to perform a range of missions including anti-submarine warfare and combat search and rescue.
Gian Piero Cutillo, the managing director of Leonardo Helicopters, said "the supply of the best-in-class maritime AW101s will allow the Polish Navy to meet its rigorous requirements for the protection of national security in the Baltic Sea and for NATO operations."
"It will also enable life-saving missions in demanding conditions with second-to-none effectiveness, leveraging Leonardo’s leading role in the maritime helicopter field," he said.
The company also said that it is establishing Leonardo Poland in Warsaw, a legal entity headed by Marco Lupo, to "represent and promote the entire technological and product portfolio and "support the customer during the programs’ life cycle to develop partnerships with Polish industry, ensuring closeness to the customer and local stakeholders."