Poland plans to spend $3 billion on multirole military helicopters for its armed forces in the near future, local paper Rzeczpospolita reported on Friday, with a new competition replacing an earlier tender.
The main candidates for the deal are America's Sikorsky offering its S-70 Blackhawk, Franco-German Eurocopter, and AgustaWestland with its AW149.
"The armed forces want to buy 70 helicopters, and not 26 as planned previously. A tender wil be completed by the end of the year and a deal should be signed by May 2013," Deputy Defense Minister Valdemar Skrzypczak said.
An earlier tender announced on 29 March, set out a requirement for 16 tactical transports for the land forces, four anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and three maritime search and rescue (SAR) helicopters for the navy and three search and rescue examples for the air force, all using one type of helicopter.
A decision on the purchase will be signed by Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak at the end of October, after which technical consultations will take place with potential suppliers. Local production of the machines is likely to be one of the conditions of the tender, the paper says.
The deal could be Poland's largest ever military equpment buy after its 2003 purchase of American Lockheed F-16 fighters for 12 billion zloty ($3.08 billion).