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    NATO forces in AH-64 Apache helicopters take part in Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, NATO's largest joint and combined military exercise in more than a decade, at the San Gregorio training grounds outside Zaragoza, Spain, November 4, 2015

    Muscle Flexing? Poland Set to Stock Up on US Apache Choppers

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    Poland’s Defense Ministry plans to buy 24 Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters under its ongoing tender to purchase new combat helicopters for the country’s Air Force, according to local business daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

    The forthcoming deal, dubbed the Kruk (Raven) program and estimated to be worth 5-6 billion zlotys ($1.3-$1.6 billion), is most likely to be awarded to Boeing in the walkup to the forthcoming NATO summit in Warsaw in July, the daily wrote citing sources close to the tender.

    “The drafting of tactical-technical requirements was completed, and, by the end of June, a decision regarding the mode of acquiring combat helicopters will be made,” ministry spokesman Bartlomiej Misiewicz said.

    Eight of the 24 Apaches will be acquired in an assembled form, while the rest are to be put together in Poland.

    Polish military experts had initially suggested Boeing's AH-64 Apache, AgustaWestland's AW-129 Mangusta and Eurocopter's EC-Tiger as potential candidates.

    Poland's Finance Ministry estimates that the country will spend around 130 billion zlotys ($33.6 billion) before 2022 on modernizing its armed forces.

    Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz recently complained, however, that the Kruk program was undefunded and said that with all necessary acquisitions carried out, the final outlays would be in the ballpark of 235 billion zlotys ($60 billion).

    The Kruk program was proposed in the wake of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine and amid Polish fears of an imaginary Russian aggression.

    According to the World Air Forces 2016 report, Poland’s combat helicopter force currently consists of 17 Russian-designed Mil-2, Mil-8 and Mil-17 helicopters and a number of  US-made Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprites.

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    Tags:
    modernization program, planned purchase, combat helicopters, Eurocopter EC-Tiger, AW-129 Mangusta, Mi-2, Mi-8, AH-64 Apache, NATO, Polish Air Force, Bartlomiej Misiewicz, Antoni Macierewicz, Poland
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