Poland has decided to end negotiations with Airbus Helicopters about the planned purchase of fifty H225M Caracal combat search and rescue helicopters, according to reports on Thursday 4 February. The deal was worth 3 billion USD. Troubles over industrial offsets are likely to have caused to decision. However, there’s no official word yet from Polish MoD.
If true, the news is a blow to Airbus Helicopters but also to the Polish military which desperately seeks replacement of ageing Russian-made Mi-8 Hip helicopters. Poland is now likely to pursue an order for Lockheed Martin – Sikorsky Black Hawks, a version of which was already produced in license in Poland.
In a statement, Airbus Helicopters responds that it is ‘committed to its policy of respecting tender obligations and of developing a large range of investments in Poland. Recent statements issued in the media are leading to speculation and spreading rumors, misleading any debate about the helicopter tenders and industrial development in Poland.’
Warsaw announced the selection of H225M in April 2015 after a lengthy selection proces. Other contenders were the AgustaWestland AW149 and Sikorsky’s S-70 Black Hawk. The latter will likely fly in Polish military service in the future.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest