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Lockheed Martin confident of Polish armed Black Hawk buy

First showcased at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2016, the armed Black Hawk is now being considered by the Polish army. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Lockheed Martin expects Poland to order approximately 32 armed S-70 Black Hawk helicopters as part of a wider revamp of the country's rotary-winged capabilities.

Speaking at the PZL Mielec facility in southern Poland on 7 June, Marek Chojecki, sales and business development manager at Lockheed Martin's Polish subsidiary, said that discussions had been held with the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND). He added that it is the company's expectation that an order for the armed variant of the S-70i/S-70M helicopter that is built at the site will be forthcoming (as noted by company officials, the S-70i and the S-70M are essentially identical platforms, with the difference being one of certification depending on the customer's requirements).

“We have been asked by the Polish MND to provide a notional configuration and notional schedule [for an armed Black Hawk procurement], and we delivered those documents to them at the end of last year. We heard some rumours very recently that soon we might expect to receive an invitation to begin negotiations, so we are ready but we are waiting for our MND to invite us to have a dialogue,” Chojecki said.

“I think there is still a place for the Black Hawk [within Poland's wider helicopter procurement plans], given the nature of how the Polish MND envisions using the upcoming Apache – US forces use the Apache with the Black Hawks [operating alongside]. Also, there are two Polish OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] building helicopters [in PZL Mielec and Leonardo's PZL-Świdnik], and the Polish government has to support both of them,” he added, referencing the MND's contract for the Leonardo AW149.

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