Leonardo and Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) have agreed to collaborate on development of a new combat helicopter, the AW249. The 249 would meet the Polish Army's requirement for a new combat helicopter under the nation's "Kruk" procurement program.
The twin-engine AW249 would be used for air support and armed escort operations. It would have a maximum takeoff weight of seven to eight tons and useful load of 1,800 kg. Its onboard communication and battlefield management systems will be capable of operating unmanned aircraft systems.
Its weapon system would be flexible, with six wing hardpoints that can carry a combination of air-to-ground or air-to-air missiles, unguided/guided rockets or external fuel tanks.
Leonardo in January 2017 agreed to replace the Italian Army's fleet of AW129s, which are retiring by 2026.
“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 program,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo's managing director.
Last year, PGZ signed a letter of intent with Bell [TXT] to cooperate on building the UH-1Y as a potential contender for Poland's army rotorcraft modernization program.