19 Jul 2018

Letter of Intent signed for AW249 Combat Helicopter

Leonardo has signed a Letter of Intent with Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. (PGZ), formalising their partnership on the AW249 – the only combat helicopter currently in development for the Polish Army.

In doing so, the two contractors have agreed to collaborate on the design, manufacturing, final assembly, marketing and aftersales support of the AW249 helicopter – developed to meet the needs of the Italian Army, with a Polish variant under consideration as part of the country’s Kruk programme.

Crucially, the partnership will give the Polish defence sector a valuable opportunity to take part in a brand new helicopter development programme from start to finish, while also helping to modernise the country’s armed forces.

“This agreement is a significant milestone in the on-going cooperation between Italian and Polish defence industries, involving the latter in the most important ongoing combat helicopter programme,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters.

“Leonardo, through PZL-Swidnik, has been working with the Polish Ministry of National Defence for years and this agreement opens new avenues of response to the Kruk programme, allowing us to address the future of Polish defence alongside PGZ.”

Jakub Skiba, President of the Management Board of PGZ, added: “Today’s agreement opens up new opportunities for PGZ Companies in the aviation domain. Cooperation with Italian industry in the joint development of solutions for our armed forces in the “Kruk” programme will allow us to expand our capabilities and involve our companies – in close cooperation with Leonardo’s PZL-Swidnik plant – in the AW249 programme.

“This high technology programme, led by Leonardo, will be also promoted in further markets.”

The AW249 will feature state-of-the-art communication and battlefield management systems, with the ability to operate and manage unmanned aerial vehicles. A number of situational awareness aids will also be included to reduce pilot workload and enhance safety. Additionally, life-cycle costs will be significant better than previous generation helicopters.

Leonardo signed a multiyear contract with the Italian Ministry of Defence in January 2017 aimed at replacing the Italian Army’s current fleet of AW129s, which will be retired from service by 2026 following 35 years in operation.

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