6 Februari 2010
PZL's W-3 Sokol (photo : Eggshelluk)
Poland's PZL Swidnik has insisted that it has not finalised a contract for the delivery of PZL W-3 Sokol medium helicopters for the Philippines armed forces, despite recent reports to the contrary.
The company confirmed that it had received a Notice of Award from the Department of National Defence of the Philippines on 26 November 2009. However, Mieczyslaw Majewski, the chief executive officer, said that according to the company's rules nothing can be released before all details are agreed with the client, a contract is signed and funds are received. He also confirmed that negotiations are ongoing and all necessary formal requests had been fulfilled by Polish side.
According to the Notice of Award, PZL Swidnik won a tender for the competition. The tender was launched in the summer of 2008, with bids delivered in August. Bidding companies were to deliver eight combat utility (battlefield transport) helicopters, as well as integrated logistics support, with the overall value of the bid placed at almost PHP3 billion (USD64 million).
The current negotiations could be boosted following AgustaWestland's acquisition of PZL Swidnik from the Polish government's Industry Development Agency on 29 January 2010. The value of the transaction was PLN339 million (USD118.5 million) for 87.62 per cent of stock. AgustaWestland had already acquired 6 per cent of PZL Swidnik, meaning that it currently owns almost 94 per cent of the last of Poland's state-owned aviation industry companies.
As part of the deal AgustaWestland agreed to set up a production line of complete fuselages for AW109/119/139s and AW101 components at Swidnik's facility by 2016, as well as to begin the complete assembly of AW109 light utility helicopters there.
AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, is also to accelerate research and development activities for the PZL W-3 Sokol, SW-5 Sokol II and SW-4 Puszczyk helicopters and the engagement of Swidnik engineers in the development of AW149 and new AWXX9 helicopters. AgustaWestland is also to support PZL Swidnik's marketing and in-service support of Sokols and Puszczyks worldwide.