Wednesday, October 03, 2012

DTN News - POLAND DEFENSE NEWS: Poland Ups Military Helicopter Contest To 70 Aircraft

DTN News - POLAND DEFENSE NEWS: Poland Ups Military Helicopter Contest To 70 Aircraft
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources AFP, AgustaWestland & Polish Air Force
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - October 3, 2012: NATO-member Poland is in the market for 70 new military helicopters, more than double the number it first sought in March, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday.

"We're determined to speed up and expand our helicopter plans with the immediate decision to buy 70 helicopters for the Polish army," the PAP news agency quoted Tusk as saying.

Delivery of the first choppers is expected by 2014, he said, describing the cost of the project as "gigantic", but declining to name a figure.

In March, Warsaw announced a tender to buy 26 multipurpose helicopters for its army worth an estimated 1.5-3.0 billion zlotys (360-720 million euros, $480-960 million).

The move is seen as a significant step in the Polish army's drive to replace 250 Soviet-era helicopters in the years to come.

A former communist state of 38.2 million, among the first to join NATO in 1999 and member of the European Union since 2004, Poland has two helicopter plants, run by British-Italian AgustaWestland and the US Sikorsky Aircraft respectively.

Polish media have tipped them as the odds-on favourites in the tender.

AgustaWestland in 2010 bought Polish helicopter producer PZL Swidnik, which makes the Sokol helicopters used in rescue operations, by firefighters and for transport, and above all by the army.

It sells its helicopters in Poland, the Czech Republic and South Korea.

AgustaWestland plans to start producing AW 109, AW 119 and AW 139 helicopters in Swidnik in southern Poland, alongside parts for the AW 101 model.

Sikorsky has started to produce a new version of the Black Hawk S70i for export in the PZL Mielec plant, also in southern Poland

Tusk was on Wednesday visiting a military exercise range in Drawsko, northwest Poland, where Polish forces are currently staging their largest annual military exercise, code-named Anakonda 12.

He also announced that Poland's failed attempt to build its first naval corvette-type vessel -- a decade-old project dubbed Gawron and mired in allegations of high-level corruption -- will be salvaged by completing the craft as a patrol boat.

Helicopters used today by the Polish Air Force:

The first two Bell 412HP helicopters were delivered to Poland in 1991 during the preparations for the pilgrimage of the Pope ? John Paul II. At the time they were both rented from the United States. The first Polish Bell 412HP was delivered in July 1993 and was designated with the side nr 02. Today it remains in service at the 36th Special Air Transport Regiment, Warsaw-Okecie.

The Bell 412 HP is a multi-role lightweight helicopter capable of carrying up to 7 passengers.

Maximum altitude: 2100 m. Maximum velocity: 230 km/h. Maximum range: 745 km. Maintenance costs per hour: 13,973 PLN.

The first Mi-2 (W-2) prototype was show to the public in 1961 in the USSR. After signing an agreement with Poland, the Russians moved part of their helicopter production plants to Swidnik. In 1965 the Mi-2 conducted its first test flight. Mass production of the Russian Mi-2 (W-2) began during summer 1966.

Poland acquired its first military version of the Mi-2 in December, 1966. Mass production began in 1967 with various version being released: transport, farming, civilian, training, rescue and combat. Altogether, over 5500 Mi-2 helicopters have been produced at the helicopter factories. 280 of them were directed to Polish military units and the majority ? exported to the USSR.

Maximum altitude: 4000 m. Maximum velocity: 200 km/h. Maximum range: 797 km. Maintainance costs per hour: 3,268 PLN.

The Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters were designed and constructed in a crude but durable manner. Even today, they still remain as the most common and reliable medium range transport helicopters used worldwide. The first Mi-8 (W-8) test flight was conducted in June 1961. The prototype used a single AL-24W engine and a four-bladed rotor. During the next two years a double-engine prototype was introduced. It was equipped with two TW2-117 engines and a five-bladed rotor. Mass production of the helicopter began at the Kazan aircraft factory in October 1965. In 1970 a second production facility in Ulan-Ude began constructing the Mi-8 (W-8). Since then, over 10,000 Mi-8 helicopters have been built.At first, the Mi-8T version served as a transport platform for soldiers and equipment. In 1968 a combat version ? the MI-8TW ? optimized for combat-strike mission was constructed. It featured two posts fitted on either side of the aircraft?s body with four UB16-57UD Cal. 57 mm rocket launcher pylons. This version was later equipped with a stronger, TW3-117 engine and named as the Mi-8MT. Serial  production of this model began in 1975.

The Polish Army acquired its first Mi-8 transport helicopters in 1968. During their first years of service, the helicopters were used mainly for transport operations. Some of them were later used at construction sites as ?flying cranes?. Currently, over thirty Mi-8 helicopters remain in service in the Polish Air Force.

Maximum altitude: 4500 m. Maximum velocity: 250 km/h. Maximum range: 985 km. Maintainance costs per hour: 10,843 PLN.

The first two prototypes of the W-3 helicopter were built at the PZL Swidnik aircraft construction plant in 1979. These models were however prepared only for ground tests. The first flight tests were conducted in 1982 on a third prototype designated SP-PSB. After completing the tests and acquiring permission from the USSR, serial production of the W-3 began.

The Polish Navy was the first branch of the Polish Armed Forces to acquire two of the W-3 transport helicopters. In 1993, more W-3 helicopters were purchased for the Polish Air and Air Defence Forces. A few years ago the W-3 achieved the ?A? category of the American certificate FAR-29 that allows aircraft to conduct flights over populated areas. The aircraft?s type number was then changed to W-3WA.

Maximum altitude: 4600 m. Maximum velocity: 255 km/h. Maximum range: 1125 km. Maintainance costs per hour: 7,160 zł. 

The PZL SW-4 is a lightweight training helicopter purchased especially for the Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin. It is capable of carrying 5 people ? 1 pilot and 4 passengers and an additional payload of 150 kilograms. The military version of the SW-4 is adapted for installation of night-vision optics as well as a small-caliber machinegun. A total of 20 SW-4 helicopters have been purchased for the Polish Air Force Academy but the majority is still being implemented to active service.

Maximum altitude: 5200 m. Maximum velocity: 260 km/h. Maximum range: 790 km.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources AFP, AgustaWestland & Polish Air Force
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

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