miércoles, 11 de julio de 2018

Leonardo and PGZ sign letter of intent on the AW249 combat helicopter

Leonardo and Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. (PGZ) signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) that will see the two companies collaborate on the AW249, the only new combat helicopter currently being designed, aiming to meet the Polish Army’s requirement for a new combat helicopter.  

With this LoI, Leonardo and PGZ will explore collaboration in a number of areas including design, manufacturing, final assembly, marketing and aftersales support for the AW249 helicopter.  

The document reinforces PGZ and Leonardo’s common interest in the development and production of a new combat helicopter, created for the needs of the Italian Army, and its Polish variant which is being considered under Poland’s "Kruk" procurement.  

Thanks to this collaboration, Poland’s defence industry will have the unique opportunity to participate in a brand new helicopter development programme, while at the same time contributing to the modernization plans of the Polish Armed Forces with a new state-of-the-art platform. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “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. 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, said: “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 all the latest technology developments in its market segment and will benefit from the extensive operational expertise logged by Leonardo’s AW129 and the know-how of the Company in this specific helicopter sector.  

With  a  MTOW  in  the  range  of  7-8  tonne  and  useful  load  in  excess  of  1800kgs,  the AW249  will  have  speed  and  endurance  that  is  able  to  sustain  the  most  difficult  close air  support  and  armed  escort  operations.    The  AW249  will  feature  state-of-the-art communication  and  battlefield  management  systems;  its  mission  system  is  able  to operate  and  manage  UAVs  and  features  a  number  of  situational  awareness  aids  to reduce  pilot  workload  and  increase  safety.  Additionally,  thanks  to  its  advanced technologies  and  design  philosophy,  the  AW249  will  have  significant  improvements  in life-cycle  costs  over  previous  generation  helicopters.   

In  addition  to  a  turreted  gun,  the  AW249  will  have  a  flexible  weapon  system  with  six wing  store  stations  that  can  carry  a  combination  of  air-to-ground  or  air-to-air  missiles, unguided/guided  rockets  or  external  fuel  tanks.  Two  powerful  engines  will  allow  for operations  in  all  environmental  conditions  (cold,  hot  &  high  and  maritime). 

Leonardo  and  PGZ  have  an  established  dialogue  on  defence  and  security  industrial cooperation,  with  multiple  agreements  signed  in  2016,  2017  and  2018.  The  aim  of these  agreements  is  to  strengthen  cooperation  between  the  PGZ  Group  and Leonardo,  particularly  in  relation  to  the  helicopters  offered  by  Leonardo  to  the  Polish Ministry  of  Defence.  Should  Leonardo  be  selected  by  the  Polish  MoD  for  the  new helicopter  requirements,  companies  in  the  PGZ  Group  will  take  part  in  the manufacture  and  servicing  of  helicopters.

Leonardo  signed  a  multiyear  contract  with  the  Italian  Ministry  of  Defence  in  January 2017,  aimed  at  meeting  the  requirement  of  the  Italian  Army  to  replace  the  current fleet  of  AW129s,  which  are  expected  to  be  retired  from  service  by  2026  following  over 35  years  in  operations.  It  will  allow  the  service  to  introduce  an  even  more technologically  advanced  product,  with  greater  performance  and  lower  operating costs,  to  meet  arising  needs  in  evolving  scenarios  for  the  next  30  years.