Polish state owned defence industry company Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze No. 1 S.A. (WZL-1) and Gdansk University of Technology signed offset agreements on January 8, 2020, which result from the purchase of four AW101 helicopters for the Polish Navy. Poland has signed for AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters to satisfy its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) requirements. The value of the technology transfer is $103 millions, and includes 9 offset liabilities. The most important of these will be the creation of a licensed Helicopter Operation Center in WZL-1.
The main offset recipient, in accordance with the contract concluded between the Polish State Treasury (Ministerstwo Skarbu Państwa), represented by the Minister of National Defense and Leonardo MW Ltd. are WZL-1 and the Center of Marine Military Technologies of the Gdańsk University of Technology. The basic and key activity of WZL-1 S.A. are major maintenance and modernization of Mi-8, Mi-14, Mi-17, Mi-24 helicopters, aircraft engines of the TW3-117 family and servicing of military and civilian aircraft. The company was designated as the Service Center for Helicopters of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.
The AW101 helicopters are to replace the Navy’s Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite copters, according to First Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz. The helocopters could replace the Polish Navy’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-14 copters. The AW101 benefits from three-engine safety; a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions; long range and endurance; a range of 1,300 km; and a proven 30-minute ‘run dry’ gearbox as well as multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems.
The helicopter can also be equipped with an advanced CSAR/SAR equipment package, which includes a multi-panel Osprey active electronically scanned array (AESA) surveillance radar system from Leonardo that provides 360° coverage; a 4-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS); two rescue hoists; a searchlight; an electro optical sensor; and a fully integrated avionics and mission system. The large cabin doors and rear ramp provide easy access for personnel, survivors, and equipment into the 27 m 3 cabin, which has stand-up head room throughout.