The Polish Armed Forces has started verification checks of the Eurocopter EC 725 Caracal long-range tactical transport helicopter at the 33rd Transport Aviation Base in Powidz, Poland.
The verification phase will confirm that the helicopter is able to deliver the technical parameters submitted by the contractor during the bidding phase.
In April, the EC 725 was selected as sole bidder for Poland's zl11.6bn ($3.8bn) utility helicopter programme, which covers acquisition of 50 medium-lift utility helicopters for replacement of the military's aging fleet of Mi-8/17 Hip and Mi-14 Haze helicopters.
Polish Inspectorate of Armament verification team chairman colonel Adam Marciniak said: "The idea of verification checks is to compare what was declared for technical parameters in the submitted offer with what is actually achieved during our evaluation.
"We attach great importance to the transparency of these operations, and that is why the work of our group is also supervised by the Military Counterintelligence Service, the Military Police and the Office of Anti-Corruption Procedures."
The checks will verify all 32 parameters indicated in the bidding proceedings, ranging from helicopter's performance, on-board equipment, and manufacturing standards.
Verification checks represent the final step in the evaluation of a bid, and are scheduled to be completed by early next month.
With successful completion of the verification checks, the Polish Ministry of National Defence will finalise the process of selecting the best offer, and move towards signing a formal agreement with the contractor.
If signed, the contract will envision the supply of 16 transport, 13 combat search and rescue, eight anti-submarine warfare, eight Special Operations variants, and five medical evacuation helicopters, all assembled in Poland.
According to the current plans, deliveries of the first helicopters are scheduled to start in 2017.
Image: An EC 725 Caracal helicopter at 2007 Paris Air Show in France. Photo: courtesy of Dmitry A Mottl.