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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 28, 2015
Business & Economy
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Offset Millions from AgustaWestland
January 28, 2015   
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British-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland, which is seeking to win a tender to supply 70 multiple-role helicopters for Poland’s armed forces, has signed memoranda of understanding on offset contracts worth 800 million euros with four key Polish defense industry companies.

AgustaWestland, which owns Polish helicopter factory PZL-¦widnik in the eastern town of ¦widnik, in December signed the agreements with four companies that are part of the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa armaments group: Fabryka Broni Radom, a munitions producer in the central city of Radom; military aviation plants Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze nr. 1 in ŁódĽ and Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze nr. 2 in Bydgoszcz, and ZM Tarnów in the southern city of Tarnów.

Other companies bidding for the tender to supply multiple-role helicopters to the Polish armed forces are American giant Sikorsky, which has a factory in Mielec, southeastern Poland, and Airbus Helicopters from France, which is planning to build a plant in Poland.

If the AW149 helicopter offered by AgustaWestland is selected, the company says it will create a global center for the production and development of this modern machine at ¦widnik that will not only meet the needs of the Polish armed forces, but also provide opportunities to export the AW149 worldwide. This could create over 2,000 new jobs, the company says.

The AW149 is a new machine that took to the skies for the first time in 2009. Its selling points include a composite fuselage.

So far, PZL-¦widnik, which has nearly 3,500 employees, including almost 630 engineers, has produced more than 7,400 helicopters for customers in more than 40 countries around the world. PZL-¦widnik is one of the largest companies in the Polish aviation sector and its chain of suppliers covers 900 Polish companies operating across the country.

The ¦widnik plant is a major supplier of helicopters for the Polish armed forces. Nearly 160 helicopters produced at PZL-¦widnik are currently used by the Polish armed forces. These include the Sokół, Anakonda, Puszczyk and Mi-2 models as well as the most modern combat version of the Sokół—the W-3PL Głuszec helicopter. Almost 80 percent of the helicopters delivered to the Polish armed forces over the past 10 years are machines manufactured at ¦widnik. The remaining 20 percent are Russian-produced helicopters.
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