Poland wants new Attack Helicopters to replace Mi-24 Hind gunships. Soon.

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

 

About Jacek Siminski 283 Articles
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.

29 Comments

      • Well, just Spain and Australia…
        And is combat proven (Afghanistan, Lybia, Mali, Somalia)

        PS :Correction : Eurocopter is now Airbus Helicopters.

        • 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

  1. 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.

      • 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.

      • But it’s okay when the US buys European instead of American built aircraft?
        C-27
        T-6
        UH-145
        CASA CN-235

        • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

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