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Poland contracts Hellfire II missiles to arm AW149, AH-64E helicopters

Seen fitted to an Apache helicopter, the Hellfire missile will arm both the AW149 and AH-64E platforms being acquired by Poland. (Janes/Kelvin Wong)

Poland has finalised a deal with the United States to acquire Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles to equip its future Leonardo AW149 and Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, made the disclosure, saying the contract for an undisclosed number of missiles had been signed on 30 May.

Błaszczak's announcement came about two-and-a-half months after the US Department of State approved the sale of up to 800 AGM-114R2 missiles to Poland for an estimated USD150 million (including training systems, support, and other services).

Neither Błaszczak nor the state department disclosed a delivery date for the missiles, but Poland is expected to receive the first of 32 AW149 support helicopters later in 2023, and the first of eight loaned US Army AH-64E attack helicopters in 2024, ahead of the arrival of an anticipated 96 newbuild helicopters from 2026.

As noted in Janes Weapons: Air Launched , the AGM-114R2 has a range from 0.5 km to 8 km. It is a semi-active laser/inertial navigation guided weapon armed with a 12.5 kg high explosive semi-armour piercing, blast, fragmentation, tandem hollow charge warhead. Depending on how the aircraft are configured, the AW149 will be able to carry up to eight missiles carried on two quad-launchers fitted to removable weapons stations on each side of the helicopter, while the AH-64E could carry upwards of 16 on the same quad-launchers on each of its four stub wing-mounted hardpoints.

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