Poland has changed its priorities regarding acquisition of the helicopters. The general-purpose combat helicopter was to be the first purchase of the Polish Armed Forces, but now the weight has been shifted towards the assault choppers.
The original modernization plan for the Polish Armed Forces saw the Mi-24 Hind helicopters replaced not before 2020-22.
However, the ageing Hind gunships could make room to a new chopper as early as 2017, whereas the tender for the utility helicopter has been postponed.
There may be several reasons behind the decision to review the plans, including the Ukrainian crisis and the need to face Russian Mi-28 Havocs, several of those have been deployed to Kaliningrad Oblast, quite close to the Polish northern border.
According to Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the leading Polish dailies, the military officials claim that Mi-24 Hinds no longer have a high combat value. The trends in development of the assault helicopters are quite different from the concept that was driving the development progress of Mi-24 which could be treated as a beefed-up version of Huey with its 8-person transport capacity in the cabin placed within the fuselage. Contemporary assault gunships are more of CAS-tools, with much less transport-related capabilities.
Gazeta Wyborcza daily is quoting the Polish strategists who point out that in case of the Ukrainian crisis, the Ukrainian Army was unable to deploy units quick enough to face the Russian invasion.
Quick deployment is one of the key elements of the defensive operations, and this cannot be realized without CAS (Close Air Support) from the helicopters or assault aircraft. Since acquisition of the A-10 is quite unrealistic, assault choppers may be an appropriate solution.
The value of the attack helicopter bid is estimated to be 1 billion Euro, worth one of the biggest chopper procurement deal issued by a NATO member state.
Possible choices? AW-129 Mangusta and AH-64 Apache.
They are not to be produced in Poland, contrary to what is going to happen in case of the Polish utility helicopter tender.
The AH-64 is quite an expensive whereas the AW-129 is significantly cheaper. However, it will be the situation in eastern Europe and the diplomatic relations between U.S., Italy and Poland rather than the performance, payload and capabilities of the helicopters, to play a major role in the tender.
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist
Image Credit: Wikimedia
And why not Eurocopter Tigre ????
That copter is a joke, how many examples sold outside FR and GE?
Agreed… Unfortunately Australia is one example!
Well, just Spain and Australia…
And is combat proven (Afghanistan, Lybia, Mali, Somalia)
PS :Correction : Eurocopter is now Airbus Helicopters.
24 in Spain and 22 in Australia.
But yeah, why not the Eurocopter Tiger?
Its too small
Eurocopter max take off weight 6,000 kg which is better than Mangusta(4,600 kg) BUT Russians and Americans are are superior
Ka 50- 10,800kg
Mi 28 -11,700 kg
Apache -10,433 kg
If the weight is the criteria, why the author is comparing A-129 and Apache ?
I don’t low but the if the heli needs power and maneuverability at the same time they should go to the Apache
Seeing how the Polish Air Force went out and bought some F16s instead of the Saab Gripen when persuaded against buying European, id put my neck out and say that they will buy the AH-64.
It does smack of poking Russia. Mi24s are quite able machines. However stirring up trouble and also making a bit of cash on the side might be a good thing. So many people here miss the Cold War.
You do not want spare parts sourced from your invader…
With the proliferation of Mi24s in south america, syria, the country formerly known as Libya & various other african countries getting hold of spares would still be a doddle if they were ever running low and blocked from getting OEM parts from the manufacturer.
As for invasion, Russia has only ever wanted a buffer between it and NATO. Encirclement worries Russia and they push back because of it. Imagine if Russia setup a military base in an independent Scotland. America / UK / NATO would have a fit.
1st, Mi24 and stuffs like Apache, Eurocopter are not directly comparable. 2nd, regarding ‘invasion’, are you serious? Russian DID invade Poland many times, most recently 1920 and 1939.
I would gladly kick Poland out of EU since they are so eager to buy american…
But it’s okay when the US buys European instead of American built aircraft?
C-27 are stored at Tucson because they are considered useless (long life C-130! ) , wise decision to buy a plane you don’t think you need
Buy the copter from a foreign country was the only option since no one in USA built a modern helo that answered the RFP
The Texan 2 is a licensed Swiss plane built in USA
The CASA (Airbus mil) cargo plane is in very small numbers..
Not so sure about eager, more like easy to pressure. Poland folded like a cheap suit and allowed CIA torture facilities to be setup. Considering previous camps like Auschwitz being rather notorious, seems a bit of a slip up.
Vienna 1683, today’s date. Look it up. ALos the relationship with US is stronger with no politicians worried about losing the “multi cultural” vote.
You’ll have to kick many other EU nations out too then!
Spain flies F-16s and has AEGIS destroyers. A bunch of EU nations have US made aircraft.
Can you elucidate why you regard the acquisition of used A-10s as “quite unrealistic”?
The US won’t sell them outside. These planes were used exclusively by the US.
The Americans are retiring them. I wonder if they would be willing to consider transferring some of them to Poland. On the other hand, the fighting in Ukraine has shown the vulnerability of close support aircraft like the SU-25 even with older SAM systems.
maybe because these planes are out of production and every spare part for the current ones are being salvaged from storage.
The A-10s were just completely rebuilt as far as wings and new parts are available. They are good to go for years to come.
Because they are too good? If that is the case why scrap? Irish logic.
Apparently Turkey nearly bought 40 A-10A’s in 1993, but didn’t have the cash. There doesn’t seem to be a firm-rooted objection to selling them by the US, as they have for some other platforms (F-22, spyplanes, sigint, elint, strat bombers). Just a lack of buyers for a very niche product.
The A-10C’s would be recently upgraded models. And hunting for T-80’s in eastern Europe was literally the job this aircraft was borne to do. Unfortunately for the Americans, they’re not in that game anymore, the Poles aren’t either, but they have a greater desire to keep it that way.
But the main hurdle to overcome would be congress’ desire to park them up in AMARG in case of ‘the big one’.
The USAF brass hates the A-10. They don’t like what it does, and would rather have a couple multibillion dollar superfighters that are too valuable to ever use but look cool than a couple cheap squadrons of A-10s that bomb and shoot stuff and save grunts on the ground. Every time they try to get rid of it, the A-10 excels. The USAF brass wanted it gone before the Gulf War, then in the early 1990s before Bosnia and Kosovo, then Afghanistan and Iraq went down, now the USAF brass wants to retire the A-10 again, not even sell it, as once again the threat of Russian armor looms in Eastern Europe and ISIS is active in road convoys in Iraq and Syria. It makes the most sense in the defensive world to keep the A-10, but the USAF brass keeps trying to kill it, no matter how it excels, how many lives it saves, or how many campaigns it helps win. There are A-10s in the AMARC facility that our allies could have, and ones to boost USAF numbers too. I say do both. The A-10 is a great plane for the world today.
I would think it would be between the A-129 or the Europcoter Tiger.