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

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.

Since Black Hawk production commenced at Mielec in 2009, 90 helicopters have been delivered to Brunei, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States. Niedbała noted that production of the 130th helicopter had commenced in the wider supplier chain, much of it in Poland across a geographic area known as Aviation Valley.

PZL Mielec is currently building helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (with 16 having been delivered in Lot 1, and Lot 2 comprises a further 32), Romania (with a framework agreement for 12, and seven have been contracted), and Poland (the special forces have four to receive on top of the four already delivered, while the police have two to receive on top of the five already delivered).

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