Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has signed a deal to acquire four S-70i Black Hawk medium-lift helicopters for its Special Forces. The Polish Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on its website on 24 January that Poland-based PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has been awarded $180 million contract for four S-70i Black Hawk medium-lift helicopters. It is expected that deliveries of helicopters to Polish Special Forces will commence in December 2019.
The S-70i helicopter is the latest variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk multi-role helicopters family serve 32 nations around the world. Its equipped with a new propulsion system, which is more powerful, along with a digital avionics suite and modernized structure of the airframe. Ruggedly dependable and ready to respond, the helicopter has established itself as the right aircraft for any mission that requires success, everywhere… every time. The modern S-70i helicopter incorporates advancements that connect this remarkable aircraft into the fast-pace, digital-information world that exists today.
The S-70i Black Hawk helicopter has a maximum gross weight of 9,979kg. It can carry two crew members and up to 13 troops. The S-70i Black Hawk is powered by two T700-GE701D turboshaft engines equipped with C controls. Each engine develops a maximum power of 1,447kW. The twin-engine power plant drives the main rotor comprising of four composite-titanium blades.
The tender related to procurement of the multi-role helicopters, based on a joint platform, has been initiated by the Polish Ministry of Defence back in 2012, and initially 26 examples were to be procured. Currently the deal is to provide 70 helicopters for the Land Forces, Navy and the Air Force. Offers have been placed by three bidders, and the tender proceedings are to be concluded this year. Besides the Sikorsky Company, with the Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters the remaining bidders are the Airbus Helicopters, offering the EC725 Caracal helicopters and PZL Świdnik, a company belonging to AgustaWestland, which proposes its new design, known under the AW149 designation.