Poland has invited Lockheed Martin’s PZL Mielec, Leonardo’s PZL Świdnik and Airbus for new preliminary talks on supplying helicopters to the country’s armed forces.
The three companies were also part of the previous tender for the same purpose. The previous Civic Platform-led government had decided to purchase the 50 helicopters from Airbus in April 2015. It rejected rival offers from PZL Mielec, owned by US firm Lockheed Martin, and PZL Świdnik, owned by Italy’s Leonardo.
In a move that caused tensions with France, Poland earlier this month announced that negotiations over a PLN 13.4 bln purchase of 50 Caracal multi-role choppers from French-based Airbus Helicopters had ended.
Beata Perkowska, deputy director of the Polish defence ministry’s Operations Centre was quoted as saying by Radio Poland that the talks “relate to the purchase of helicopters as part of an urgent operational need reported by the Polish Armed Forces."
She added that PLN 1 billion (about $254 million—Ed.) has been earmarked for the purchase. Perkowska did not say how many helicopters would be bought.
The decision to purchase from a French firm met with domestic criticism at the time.
Poland had on Wednesday said that it would launch a new tender process for military helicopters after the country scrapped plans to buy 50 French-made military helicopters from Airbus Helicopters.
The decision came a day after Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said that Poland plans to buy at least 21 US Black Hawk helicopters from Airbus rival Lockheed Martin.
"To comfort Airbus group I can only say that a new call for tenders will be launched and that they can participate," government spokesman Rafal Bochenek said on Jedynka public radio, according to a report by Associated Press Wednesday.
Poland’s Law and Justice government indicated that it might cancel the deal after winning elections in October 2015.
Perkowska said on Tuesday the previous proceedings had favoured one company "to the extent that the then-Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak made illegal changes to the initial technical and tactical assumptions." Siemoniak rejected the claims.
Perkowska added that there had been efforts “to sell Poland the Caracal at a higher price than to Brazil and Kuwait."
Poland has considered to buy a $3.5 billion Polish-made Black Hawk helicopters after the country scrapped plans to buy 50 French-made military helicopters from Airbus Helicopters
Poland has scrapped $3.5 billion deal for the procurement of 50 Airbus EC-725 Caracal multi-purpose helicopters for its army
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