Jul 12, 2014

Poland starts 'Kruk' attack helicopter acquisition programme

Poland officially launched its 'Kruk' (Raven) attack helicopter acquisition programme on 8 July, which will eventually replace the country's ageing Mil Mi-24 'Hind' combat helicopters.
The purchase of 32 new attack helicopters comes under a PLN11.6 billion (USD3.8 billion) priority project that also includes the acquisition of 70 multi-role helicopters.
The main competitors in the tender are expected to be the AgustaWestland/Turkish Aerospace Industries T129; the Boeing AH-64E Apache 'Guardian'; and the Airbus Helicopters EC 665 Tiger.
The country announced in late May that it is planning to accelerate the acquisition of attack helicopters due to the crisis in Ukraine.
The new helicopters will replace Poland's 29 Soviet-made Mil Mi-24D 'Hind-D' and Mi-24W 'Hind-E' combat helicopters. Poland began operating four Mil Mi-24D 'Hind-D' helicopters in January 1979 and purchased 16 Mil Mi-24D helicopters in 1985.
A second batch of 16 Mil Mi-24W 'Hind-E' was acquired in 1986, followed a decade later by the purchase in 1996 of 18 ex-East German Mi-24D helicopters: 16 for operational service, and two to cannibalise for spares.
Under the original draft plans, of the first 20 Kruk helicopters delivered, 12 were scheduled for delivery to the Land Force's 1st Aviation Brigade (1 BLWL) and eight to the Air Force's 7th Special Operation Squadron (7 EDS).

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