Airbus Helicopters has withdrawn from Poland's naval helicopter acquisition, citing the combination of offsets and small size of the procurement programme as being behind the decision.
A company spokesperson confirmed the move to Jane's on 5 December, stating that the offset requirements set out by the Polish Ministry of Defence "make it impossible for Airbus Helicopters to submit a competitive offer", given the number of helicopters that are to be procured.
"Airbus Helicopters remains committed to support the modernisation of the Polish armed forces rotary-wing capabilities through its wide portfolio of multirole and combat-proven platforms." the spokesperson said.
The Polish naval helicopter programme sought to procure anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters primarily to replace the country's fleet of Mil Mi-14 'Haze' platforms, with the total number to be procured being reduced to four over time. Under Poland's plans, by 2019 only half of the country's fleet of Mi-14PL and Mi-14PS helicopters were to remain operational, with the ship-based Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite ASW helicopters being phased out.
The procurement was given added impetus as manufacturer support for the platforms has ended, despite the helicopters having served only half their total service life. The procurement was also being bundled with the acquisition of combat search-and-rescue/special forces support helicopters.
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