The head of the Ministry of National Defence and Deputy Prime Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, recently presided over a special ceremony in Nowy Glinnik. During the event, the Ministry of National Defence handed over the first pair of state-of-the-art AW-149 helicopters to the soldiers of the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade. This marks a pivotal moment in the implementation of the Perkoz multi-role support helicopter program, a major endeavor for the Polish Armed Forces. Under a contract inked in July 2022, a total of 32 AW-149 helicopters will be delivered to the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade with additional bases in Nowy Glinnik and Leznica Wielka, all located in the Lodz Voivodeship. Thanks to their fleet of helicopters, they have the capacity to rapidly shift their area of deployment, thus enhancing their strategic reach.
“We are all aware of the threats that Poland faces. There is a war going on behind our eastern border. The Middle East is also a place where there is a war, and there are very strong tensions in the Asian region. All this means that the prospects for the development of the situation in in the international arena are not good. The only effective response to these threats is to strengthen the Polish Army. Therefore, it is with great satisfaction that I am here with you to show you two of the 32 AW-149 family helicopters that are already in service with the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade,” said Mariusz Blaszczak.
The 25th Air Cavalry Brigade (Polish: 25 Brygada Kawalerii Powietrznej (25BKPow)) is a brigade of the Polish Armed Forces, headquartered in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The brigade serves as air assault troops, enabling the formation to be transported to battle by helicopters in large numbers. The soldiers of the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade bring with them a wealth of combat experience, gained through participation in missions across the globe, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chad. Their dedication to duty and operational expertise make them an invaluable asset to the Polish Army. The brigade serves in an air assault role, where troops are transported to and then inserted into battle using helicopters. This enables the brigade to have a high degree of maneuverability, being able to be transported rapidly to strategic or tactical situations.
The AW-149 helicopter, manufactured by Leonardo (formerly Agusta Westland), is a multi-role military helicopter specifically designed to fulfill transport, battlefield support, and search and rescue missions. The AW149 is being marketed as an alternative to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk family. Derived from the AW-139, this enlarged version of the helicopter is well-suited to meet the diverse needs of the Polish Armed Forces. In its Polish Armed Forces configuration, the AW-149 will be equipped with a range of advanced systems, including observation equipment, various types of munitions, such as guided Hellfire anti-tank missiles, unguided missiles, and self-defense systems. Depending on the specific mission requirements, the armament can be installed within the cabin or on the helicopter’s suspension points.