Poland’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) is set to receive Polish-built Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters from PZL Mielec.
Confirmed by Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, the contract will see the delivery of four Black Hawk helicopters and help create more than 1,700 jobs at PZL Mielec.
The company noted that it will also support nearly 5,000 additional employment opportunities within its supply chain in the country, with most of them being small to medium-sized businesses.
Błaszczak said: “This is an important moment and an important day for Poland and employees at PZL Mielec. The Polish Army has bought proven Black Hawk helicopters. Helicopters that have been tested in war conditions in Iraq and in Afghanistan are among the most modern in the world.
“It is the first stage of cooperation between the Polish Army and PZL Mielec.”
Work under the contract will start immediately and deliveries of all the helicopters will take place by the end of this year.
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The Black Hawk is a multi-role helicopter deployed by the US military and 31 international customers to conduct combat assault and utility missions.
The helicopter supports operations such as troop transport, combat assault, medical evacuation, humanitarian relief, cargo lift, and search and rescue.
PZL Mielec president and general director Janusz Zakrecki said: “With both the national police and special operations forces selecting the S-70i Black Hawk, our Polish-built helicopters now have government endorsement and this sends an important signal of trust to potential export customers.
“The S-70i is identical in terms of capability and performance to other Black Hawk helicopters in service with a number of Poland’s Nato allies. It will allow Polish troops to integrate quickly and operate seamlessly with their allies.”
PZL Mielec is a Polish aerospace manufacturer owned by Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky. It is said to be the largest Lockheed Martin production plant outside the US.
Lockheed Martin and the Polish Ministry of Defence collaborate on several programmes such as Air Sovereignty Operation Centres, F-16, Sniper advanced targeting pods, C-130E Hercules and Aegis Ashore.