Thursday, October 2, 2014
Poland’s Multirole Competition Final Face-Off
|AgustaWestland AW 149. Photo by Andrew Drwiega|
Sikorsky’s S-70i, which is already manufactured in Poland for international customers including the militaries of Brunei, Columbia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, is competing against AgustaWestland’s AW149 and Airbus Helicopters’ EC725 Caracal.
“Sikorsky invested $500 million in its supply chain last year,” Caroline Vandedrinck, vice president Europe, Russia and Central Asia told Rotor & Wing in an interview prior to MSPO.
With a decision expected from the Polish government by the end of 2014, Sikorsky has been doing the groundwork to prove its commitment to the country. “This is not just about production at the factory. We are looking for partners within the Polish industry and would be extending work offers to those companies,” said Vandedrinck, adding that Sikorsky already held its own supplier conference in January. “We brought our suppliers to Poland and introduced them to Polish suppliers. Twenty of our suppliers joined us, including Rockwell Collins, GE, Honeywell and Telephonics.”
|Airbus Helicopters EC725. Photo by Andrew Drwiega|
“They are perfectly adapted to the modern and asymmetric wars we face today,” commented General Olivier de la Motte, head of French Army Aviation.
|Sikorsky S-70i. Photo by Andrew Drwiega|
AgustaWestland’s offer of its AW149 will be built at PZL-Świdnik’s facility, should it be the winner. The plant already has a workforce of several thousand and has been involved in helicopter production and support for over 60 years.
The AW149 is the newest offering of the three competitors, having just gained its military certification from the Italian Directorate of Air Armaments (ARMAEREO) this past July.