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PZL Mielec turns out 100th Polish-built Black Hawk

The 100th Polish-built Black Hawk helicopter rolled off the PZL Mielec production line in late November. (PZL Mielec)

Lockheed Martin's subsidiary, PZL Mielec, recently turned out the 100th S-70 Black Hawk helicopter to be built at its facility in southern Poland.

Announced at the end of November, the milestone helicopter was an S-70i for the Polish Armed Forces (as well as the S-70i, the plant also builds the S-70M with the difference between the two being one of certification).

News of the achievement came about 14 years after the company began production in 2009, for what has so far been 18 customers from 11 countries. As well as assembling 100 complete helicopters, PZL Mielec has also built over 650 main cabin and 520 tail sections for the wider international programme.

The line at Mielec comprises six stations (including one joining station), with each airframe being moved along the line at a rate of one station approximately every two weeks, meaning it takes about three months to build a ‘green' helicopter without much of the specialist military equipment fitted.

With demand for the Black Hawk growing globally, Piotr Niedbała, PZL Mielec business development and programmes director, recently told Janes and other defence media that the company could ramp up production if required. According to Niedbała, production could conceivably be doubled from the current rate of 24 helicopters per year to meet demand, although this would require a substantial effort.

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