Poland Considering Potential Procurement of 96 Apache Attack Helicopters

File photo of U.S. Army AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens/Released)

Poland may have finally selected its new attack helicopters.

According to the statement made by the head of the Polish MoD via his Twitter account, Poland is examining options when it comes to the acquisition of attack helicopters. The Polish MoD has sent an offer request (LOR, Letter of Request) to the US, regarding the potential procurement of 96 AH-64E Apache Guardians for the Army aviation units. The statement also mentions a potential Transfer of Technology, it remains unclear, however, what the scope of that transfer would be.

The above tweet somewhat ends the saga of the Kruk attack helicopters procurement program, where AH-64E, AH-1Z, Airbus Helicopters Tiger, and TAI/Leonardo T-129 ATAK were being considered among the possible bids. This is also yet another procurement that is done in a manner that omits a competitive tendering process in Poland – the usual course for major defense contracts.

The Kruk program initially envisaged the acquisition of 32 aircraft, solely to replace the Polish Mi-24s. Now it seems that the acquisition is also aimed at replacing the remainder of the Polish close support helicopter assets, including the armed W-3 family aircraft, and the legacy Mi-2 Hoplites – following the recommendations issued in the 2017 Strategic Defence Review conducted by the Polish MoD. The Kruk program, it seems, turned into a straightforward FMS (Foreign Military Sales) scheme acquisition.

Boeing issued a statement, responding to the release by the Polish MoD:

“Boeing is honored the Government of Poland has selected the AH-64E Apache for the Polish Armed Forces’ new attack helicopter fleet. An Apache selection strengthens U.S-Polish military ties by enhancing interoperability and cooperation between Poland, the U.S. Army and NATO nations. During the procurement process, Boeing established significant cooperative partnerships across Polish government and industry. Our partnership with the Polish Armaments Group in particular will continue to expand as we implement training and sustainment efforts with local industry.”

There are no details released when it comes to the pricing of that deal, but for the sake of comparison, we could refer to last year’s request Australia filed – the Defense Security Cooperation Agency approved a possible sale of Guardians and notified Congress on an estimated cost of USD 3.5 bn. The sale concerned 29 AH-64Es, 64 T700-GE 701D engines, 29 AN/ASQ-170 target acquisition and designation sight/AN/AAR-11 pilot night vision sensors, 16 AN/APG-78 FCR with radar electronic units, and 35 AAR-57 common missile warning systems. The package for Australia also included rocket launcher units, MUM-T equipment, comms, training systems, simulators, and ground support equipment.

An AH-64E (Image credit: Tomàs Del Coro/Wiki)

We could risk an estimation that the Polish deal would have a value higher than USD 10B. However, this is only a notification/LOR stage. That means that the final quantity of the acquired equipment could be much lower. Earlier on, back in June Poland submitted a LOR regarding 500 M142 HIMARS systems – this is also a major quantity, but the procurement may ultimately be much smaller.

About Jacek Siminski
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.