Paris Air Show 2023: PZL Mielec prepared to increase Polish Black Hawk production to meet demand

by Gareth Jennings

The PZL Mielec facility in Poland could ramp up production to meet growing international demand for the Black Hawk helicopter. (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin's subsidiary, PZL Mielec, could ramp up production of the S-70 Black Hawk at its facility in southern Poland to meet the growing international demand for the medium-lift helicopter, a senior official said ahead of the Paris Air Show.

Speaking to Janes and other defence media earlier in June, Piotr Niedbała, business development and programmes director, said the company could potentially double production at Mielec from its current rate of 24 helicopters per year to meet demand, although this would require substantial effort.

“Right now, there is huge demand for the Black Hawk, and every customer wants their helicopters yesterday rather than tomorrow,” Niedbała said. “Doubling the production rate is possible, but it would require modifications of the line and approvals – it can be done, but it is not a simple thing,” he added.


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GAO finds risk of additional delays to F-35 programme

by Zach Rosenberg

US Air Force F-35A Lightning II. F-35 deliveries are on hiatus until the Department of Defense certifies the TR-3 configuration for service. (US Air Force/Staff Sergeant Zade Vadnais)

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that problems with F-35 hardware and software have led to delays and cost overruns, the agency said in a report released on 16 May.

In 2023 most Lockheed Martin F-35s and the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) F135 engines that power them were delivered late, with the risk of delays to future deliveries.

“The engine contractor – Pratt & Whitney – did not deliver any engines on time in 2023,” noted the GAO. “Furthermore, in 2023, engines were delivered more than 2 months late, on average, compared with 1 month late in 2022.”

Engine deliveries were suspended following a December 2022 crash of an F-35B during a Department of Defense (DoD) acceptance evaluation flight. The cause was traced to harmonic vibrations in an engine fuel delivery tube, which cracked under the strain. Deliveries resumed in February 2023 following the development of a fix to prevent such resonance.


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OCCAR and MBDA sign HYDIS² concept phase contract

by Nicholas Fiorenza

OCCAR and MBDA have launched the HYDIS² concept phase. (MBDA)

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and MBDA announced on 15 May that they signed a European Defence Fund (EDF) grant agreement and a linked procurement contract to launch the three-year HYpersonic Defence Interceptor Study (HYDIS²) concept phase on the same day. MBDA signed the agreements on behalf of the 19 industrial partners in HYDIS². In its press release, OCCAR valued the programme at EUR140 million (USD152 million), EUR80 million of which is co-funded by the EDF.

The concept phase aims to mature critical technologies focusing on the operational requirements of participating countries France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, which will support the selection of a concept afterwards and will contribute to MBDA's Aquila counter-hypersonic interceptor concept. Another aim of the concept phase is to create an industrial network to develop future counter-hypersonic missile systems.

An MBDA spokesperson told Janes


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NAVSEA intends to award AS(X) submarine tender design development to NASSCO

by Richard Scott

NASSCO is in line to build a new class of AS(X) submarine tenders to replace ships such as USS Emory S Land pictured here. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on 8 May advised its intention to award General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) a sole-source contract estimated at up to USD100 million for the AS(X) Submarine Tender Recapitalization Program design development. This is seen as the lead-in to a full detailed design and construction (DD&C) contract for the first AS(X) ship.

NASSCO has emerged as the sole acknowledged bidder for DD&C work on the AS(X).

A fleet of three AS(X)-class ships is planned to replace the USN's two ageing Emory S Land-class submarine tenders, both of which were commissioned in 1979.

NAVSEA in April 2022 awarded AS(X) concept refinement and preliminary design contracts to L3Harris Technologies, General Dynamics NASSCO, and HII under full and open competition. Under these awards, all three companies developed an AS(X) ship specification, interface specifications, ship cost estimates, and ship construction schedules to inform NAVSEA's follow-on acquisition effort.

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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/paris-air-show-2023-pzl-mielec-prepared-to-increase-polish-black-hawk-production-to-meet-demand

Lockheed Martin's subsidiary, PZL Mielec, could ramp up production of the S-70 Black Hawk at its fac...

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