Poland May Sign Helicopter Deal Despite Criticism
(Source: Compiled by Defense-Aerospace.com; published May 29, 2015)
PARIS --- The Polish government has the authority and “full competence” to sign the contract for 50 helicopters despite incoming President Andrezj Dudac’s criticism of the choice of the Airbus EC725 Caracal, Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said during a May 28 interview with Polish Radio RMF FM.

Poland announced in late April that it had selected the Caracal to meet its requirement for a new multirole helicopter, and on May 27 announced that it had successfully verified the helicopter’s compliance with the performance claimed in the winning tender.

However, Polish President-elect Andrzej Duda had criticized the selection of the Caracal at the time of its selection, arguing that the other two competitors, AgustaWestland’s AW145 and Sikorsky’s S-70I, would provide greater industrial benefits and support more Polish jobs.

“I hope that, when the new commander-in-chief of the armed forces sees the documents, he will see the selected helicopters are a good choice for the army,” Siemoniak said, according to a May 27 report by Bloomberg news. “The contract already has a one-year delay, and what’s at stake is whether Polish soldiers will have helicopters to fly in 2019.”

He added that the government continues to negotiating the contract terms, including offsets, as scheduled. Siemoniak declined to say if the government intends to sign the final contract with Airbus as soon as September, as planned.

However, in a long series of statements published May 27 on his Twitter account (@MirekRozanski), Major General Miroslaw Rozanski, the official in charge of procurement at the defense ministry, said that initial deliveries will begin in 2017, which assumed contract signature before the end of the year.

Bing translation of Rozanski’s main tweets on the subject:
-- Today ended the verification checks of the helicopter EC-725 #Caracal in the multipurpose helicopter for SZRP. (above)
-- Helicopter EC-725 Caracal has a positive phase of verification checks for helicopter multitasking SZ RP.
-- Delivery of the first helicopter, equipped according to requirements and in quantities specified by the customer, will begin in 2017.

The timing issue is significant as Poland’s general elections are due to take place in October, and failure to award the final contract before the election risks pushing deliveries into 2018 or later.


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