Leonardo has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) to partner on the AW249 combat helicopter development for the Polish Army.
Currently being designed and developed by Leonardo, the AW249 is pitched for Poland’s new attack helicopter procurement programme, Kruk.
Under the LoI, the two companies will work together in a number of areas such as design, production, final assembly, marketing and aftersales support for the AW249 helicopter.
Leonardo Helicopters managing director Gian Piero Cutillo said: “This agreement is a significant milestone in the ongoing cooperation between Italian and Polish defence industries, involving the latter in the most important ongoing combat helicopter programme.”
If Leonardo’s AW249 is selected for the Polish Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) new combat helicopter programme, companies in the PGZ Group will be responsible for carrying out the production and servicing of the aircraft.
In January 2017, Leonardo received a €487m contract to develop a successor for the Italian Army’s AW129 Mangusta fleet.
Created for the needs of the Italian Army, the helicopter will feature two powerful engines that will allow it to conduct operations in all environmental conditions.
With a useful load of more than 1,800kg, the AW249 helicopter has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) ranging between 7t and 8t, while its speed and endurance allow it to sustain the most difficult close air support and armed escort operations.
The mission system of the aircraft is capable of operating and managing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and features a number of situational awareness aids that help reduce pilot workload while enhancing their safety.
It will be equipped with a turreted gun and a flexible weapon system with six-wing store stations that can carry a combination of air-to-ground or air-to-air missiles, and unguided / guided rockets or external fuel tanks.