MOSCOW --- Poland is upgrading its Soviet-originated Mil Mi-14 (NATO reporting name: Haze) amphibious helicopters, according to Bulgarian defense analysts.
The Polish Naval Aviation has faced difficulties due to the governmental decline to acquire H225M Caracal utility rotor-wing aircraft developed by the Airbus Helicopters company. The fleet of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search-and-rescue (SOR) helicopters of the service includes two ageing Mi-14 rotor-wing aircraft planned to be phased out in 2017-2021. However, Poland’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) will not buy new helos in the foreseeable future. Previously, the Naval Aviation was planning to take the delivery of eight ASW and six SAR H225M helicopters.
According to the Military Balance 2016 report issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the service operates seven Mi-14PL (Haze) ASW helicopters and two Mi-14PS (Haze C) SAR helicopters. They have been issued to the 44th Naval Aviation base (Darlovo). Poland Wojskowe Zak·ady Lotnicze-1 (WZL-1) aircraft repairing plant overhauled and upgraded the aforementioned Mi-14 helicopters in the early 2000s. The first modernized helo was delivered to Darlovo in 2007.
According to the Polish sources, Mi-14PL remains an effective ASW helicopter in the Baltic region, owing to its reliable search-and-track integrated onboard equipment. Originally, the fleet of Poland’s naval helos was comprised of eight Mi-14PL rotor-wing aircraft (1001, 1002, 1003, 1005, 1007, 1008, 1010, 1011 registration numbers) and two Mi-14PS (1009 and 1012 registration numbers). The 44th Naval Aviation base also operates two W-3RM Anakonda SAR helicopters built by the Polish aerospace industry.
The aforementioned Mi-14PL helicopters were upgraded for the first time in the 1990s. The Gdansk Technical University and the Technological University of the Polish Air Force modernized the Oko-2 hydroacoustic station of the rotor-wing aircraft and extended its search range. The sensitivity of the organic APM-60 magnetic detector was increased. Both Mi-14PL and Mi-14PS helos received STANAG-compatible radios, navigation systems, and GPS receivers. In the early 2000s, the Polish Mi-14PLs were re-armed with new 324 mm MU-90 anti-submarine torpedoes developed by the EuroTorp company.
In 2010, Poland rebuilt two Mi-14PL into Mi-14PL/R (a modification of Mi-14PS SAR helo) variant. The helicopters received SPG-300 electrically driven winch, new navigation system, and the Buran-A meteorological stations. At present, the Polish Naval Aviation operates four Mi-14PL helicopters, the remaining rotor-wing aircraft have been stored. The last helos is planned to be phased out in 2021.
According to the open sources, the Mi-14 helicopter has a length of 25.24 m, a main rotor diameter of 21.29 m, a width of 3.8 m, a height of 6.93 m, an empty weight of 8,900 kg, a normal take-off weight of 13,400 kg, a maximum take-off weight of 14,500 kg, a maximum speed of 230 km/h, a cruise speed of 210 km/h, an operational range of 200 km, a service ceiling of 4,00 m, a crew of four pilots, and a payload of 2,000 kg. It is powered by two Klimov TV3-117M turboshaft engines (2,000 h.p. each).