Europe’s Air­bus wins ten­der to re­place Pol­ish Soviet-era chop­pers, says re­port

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Air­bus He­li­copters has won a ten­der to re­place Poland’s Soviet-era mil­i­tary chop­pers, beat­ing out Bri­tish-Ital­ian group Agus­taWest­land and U.S. man­u­fac­turer Siko­rsky, lo­cal me­dia re­ported Tues­day.

Air­bus, for­merly Euro­copter, has won the ten­der to de­liver 70 mul­ti­pur­pose Cara­cal EC725 he­li­copters to Poland’s army un­der a con­tract worth an es­ti­mated 2.5 bil­lion eu­ros (NT$93.34 bil­lion; US$3 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to the Gazeta Wy­bor­cza daily.

It added that Poland has awarded an­other lu­cra­tive army ten­der to U.S.-based Raytheon for a Pa­triot sur­face-to-air mis­sile sys­tem.

Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ewa Kopacz was ex­pected to an­nounce the deals later Tues­day, part of NATO-mem­ber Poland’s ef­fort to over­haul its mil­i­tary equip­ment to the tune of around 140 bil­lion zloty (NT$1.245 tril­lion, US$40 bil­lion) over 10 years.

Poland also plans to ac­quire ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, sub­marines and drones dur­ing the re­vamp, which War­saw has sped up be­cause of con­cerns over Rus­sia’s ac­tiv­ity in neigh­bor­ing Ukraine.

The de­fense min­istry had ear­lier said the win­ning he­li­copter would un­dergo tests in Poland be­fore the con­tract is signed by the end of the year.

Air­bus He­li­copters said ear­lier this year that if it won the chop­per ten­der it would set up a he­li­copter as­sem­bly line and a man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter for key he­li­copter parts in Poland’s industrial hub of Lodz.

In Fe­bru­ary it opened a re­search and devel­op­ment cen­ter there that will em­ploy around 100 en­gi­neers.

Poland, a cen­tral Euro­pean pow­er­house of 38 mil­lion peo­ple, joined NATO in 1999, a dec- ade af­ter shed­ding com­mu­nism. It be­came a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union in 2004.

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