skip to main content

Poland accepts first two AW149 helicopters

Poland formally accepted the first two of 32 Leonardo AW149 armed battlefield utility helicopters on 30 October. (Polish Ministry of National Defense)

Poland has formally accepted the first two of 32 Leonardo AW149 armed battlefield utility helicopters.

The acceptance ceremony was held on 30 October at the type's future operating station at Nowy Glinnik Airport, some 70 km southwest of Warsaw, and was attended by the Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak.

News of the handover came around 17 months after Błaszczak announced the AW149 procurement in June 2022. The acquisition saw the AW149 succeed in Poland, having initially failed to secure a sale in the country.

Having been considered by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) as a potential replacement for its Warsaw Pact-era Mil Mi-14 ‘Haze' anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Mil Mi-8 ‘Hip' troop transport helicopters, the AW149PL, as it was known during its initial Polish bid, lost out to the Leonardo AW101 Merlin in the ASW role and to the Eurocopter EC725 (later rebadged as the Airbus Helicopters H225M) in the special operations forces (SOF) role (this selection was later overturned in favour of the Polish-built Lockheed Martin S-70i Black Hawk).

In this successful procurement bid, the AW149 will replace the Mil Mi-2 ‘Hoplite' and some PZL-Swidnik W-3PL Głuszec multirole battlefield helicopters, and will be armed with Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles. Deliveries are scheduled to run until 2029, with the type to be operated by the Polish Army's 25th Air Cavalry Brigade.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...