Polish Army receives first two Leonardo AW149 multirole helicopters

On October 30, 2023, in a move to modernize its airborne forces, the Polish Army took delivery of its first two Leonardo AW149 multi-role helicopters. The ceremony, held at the 7th Airborne Division facility in Nowy Glinnik, was chaired by the Minister of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak. This marks the first delivery of the 32 AW149 multi-role support helicopters ordered from PZL-Świdnik, a subsidiary of Leonardo.

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Polish Army integrates its first Leonardo AW149 multi role helicopter 925 The  Polish Army took delivery of its first two Leonardo AW149 multi-role helicopters (Picture source: Polish MoD)

The agreement, signed on July 1, 2022, between the State Treasury, the Armaments Agency, and PZL-Świdnik S.A., is valued at more than $1.96 billion. It includes not only the supply of 32 AW149 helicopters but also comprehensive logistics and training packages, as well as advanced simulators. The helicopters passed state tests, confirming their compliance with the requirements set by the Polish Armed Forces.

The logistics package includes a stock of spare parts, consumables, and ground support equipment. On the training front, the package includes comprehensive training for pilots and technical personnel and a set of simulators and advanced training equipment.

The AW149s are intended to fulfill various roles within the Polish Army. These include troop transport, air support of subdivisions, combat evacuation, and search and rescue (CSAR) operations. They will also be used to transport goods and supplies.

The helicopters have advanced observation and targeting systems, supporting machine guns, guided missiles such as Hellfire, and guided/unguided rockets. Armament can be installed in the cabin or on external suspension points, depending on mission requirements.

The AW149 is a multi-purpose military helicopter capable of day/night VFR/IFR (Visual Flight Rules/Instrumental Flight Rules) flights and flights in night vision conditions (NVC). With a maximum takeoff weight of 8,300 kg, expandable up to 8,600 kg, the helicopter has a maximum speed of 313 km/h and a cruising speed of 287 km/h. It has a maximum range of 958 km and can fly for up to 4 hours and 55 minutes. The AW149 can carry up to 19 passengers and its cabin can be quickly reconfigured for various missions.