In 2019, the head of the Ministry of Defence signed a contract for the delivery of four AW101 helicopters for the Polish Navy. These helicopters are designed for anti-submarine warfare, equipped with medical equipment, and adapted for search and rescue missions. They are due to enter service this autumn.
In April 2019, the Minister of National Defence signed a contract at the PZL-Świdnik plant to deliver four AW101 helicopters for the Polish Navy. The AW101 is a multi-role, three-engine helicopter developed in British-Italian cooperation and manufactured at plants in Yeovil, England, and Vergiate, Italy. The helicopter has an unladen weight of about 11 tonnes and a payload of about 5 tonnes.
The helicopters ordered by the Polish side are to be adapted for anti-submarine warfare, and equipped with medical equipment, allowing the conduct of CSAR missions – combat search and rescue; they will also be able to carry out missions ensuring the navigability of sea communication routes, port protection and protection of surface vessels.
The PLN 1.65 billion contract with PZL-Świdnik for the delivery of four heavy-lift helicopters for the Navy was signed by the Ministry of Defence in April 2019. The contract also includes logistical and training security. Initially, the deliveries were to be completed by 2022.
As the Ministry of Defence reported, the logistics package included a stock of spare and consumable parts and equipment for the ground handling of the helicopters. The training package, in turn, includes comprehensive training for pilots and technical personnel.
In May, the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces announced that the AW101 helicopters would enter service in the autumn of this year; at that time, crew training was taking place in Yeovil, UK. The training cycle will end in the third quarter of this year and will result in the training of four full crews who, with instructor qualifications, can train further crews in the country.
According to the schedule, in the near future, the first of the Polish AW101s will arrive at – belonging to Leonardo – PZL Świdnik, where the cycle of tests required before acceptance into service will begin. The test programme includes trials of airframes and specialised equipment. In the autumn of this year, the helicopters should enter service at the 44th Naval Air Base in Darłowo.
Six hangars have been prepared, along with a storage and welfare area, an airfield maintenance security building and new parking planes. Construction of a training building is also underway.
On Monday, the Armament Agency announced that the first AW101 was already in Poland.