Leonardo is pleased to announce that the Polish Navy’s first AW101 (ZR285) achieved its first flight yesterday at the Company’s site in Yeovil. The flight demonstrated functional checks of the main airframe systems as well as the control system, and engine-handling checks were taken throughout to monitor the speed range of the aircraft. The flight envelope will now be opened further with testing exploring the bespoke mission equipment fitted to the aircraft. This achievement is indicative of an integrated Leonardo team spanning the United Kingdom, Poland, and Italy.
It highlights the strength in collaboration between Leonardo and the Company’s main industrial presence in Poland, PZL-Åšwidnik which acts as the prime contractor, as all teams work closely across the three nations to ensure this high-end capability for the Polish Ministry of National Defence. PZL-Åšwidnik, acts as the prime contractor and is responsible for the entire contract execution, and at Leonardo in Yeovil, the team assembles the aircraft. The AW101 will perform a range of missions for the Polish Navy including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR).
In April 2019, the company announced it would supply four AW101s and a comprehensive integrated logistics and training package to the Polish Ministry of National Defence. The AW101 for the Polish Naval Aviation Brigade will be equipped with the most modern mission systems, including autopilot with SAR modes, data transmission system, tactical navigation system and protection and defence systems (passive and active). In addition, the AW101 will be equipped with a tactical radio, reconnaissance radar, an observation head (FLIR) and an S-mode transponder. It will also be equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun.
In addition, there will be a searchlight and arrayed lights, which will ensure good visibility in all-weather conditions. The aircraft will be optimized with medical and rescue equipment, including two winches and a system for carrying loads on the external suspension. In addition, the AW101 fleet will be equipped with an emergency float system, life rafts, and a cold climate survival kit. This mission flexibility makes the AW101 the most advanced, versatile and capable multi-role helicopter available today. The helicopter is already in service in some of the most important NATO nations, such as Italy, the UK, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal.