Poland has signed on for the procurement of four Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters under a sole-source contract. The deal was inked by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on January 25. The S-70i is manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec.
The new helicopters are being purchased for use with the Polish Army’s Special Forces and are expected to be delivered in December 2019. The value of the contract, plus associated equipment, training and a logistics package, totals PZL683.4 million ($180.7 million), according to the Polish Ministry of National Defense.
— Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej 🇵🇱 (@MON_GOV_PL) January 25, 2019
Poland initially launched a tender for eight such helicopters on February 20, 2017. Whether the deal announced on January 25 represents the initial batch procurement or involves an option for an additional four units is yet to be announced, though the full eight-unit order remains the goal. The contract does, however, begin the process of gradually replacing the current fleet of Russian-legacy Mil Mi-8 sand Mi-17s with NATO-standard alternatives, part of the emphasis of Poland’s ongoing modernization push.
Overall, Poland’s armed forces are expected to field 200 helicopters in multiple variants (attack, medium utility, heavy-lift, etc.) by 2030.
Photo via Alan Wilson