The Deputy Prime Minister said this on Twitter.
Another good news! In the latest edition of the Guardian, we sent an inquiry to the US regarding the acquisition of 96 AH-64E APACHE helicopters for ground forces’ aviation needs. Along with helicopters, we will also get technology transfer. pic.twitter.com/VdZUybVRCc
– Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) September 8, 2022
An investigation was conducted to procure 96 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the Air Force’s aviation requirements. Of course, the inquiry is for the maximum number, but its pace is similar to the inquiry into the possibility of buying 500 HIMARS launchers.
During the Polish People’s Republic, only two squadrons (16 each) of Mi-24D and Mi-24W attack helicopters were purchased in the Soviet Union. A few armed Mi-2 helicopters were next to them. Also, some Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters carried unguided weapons. Already during the times of the Third Republic of Poland, the purchase of full-scale attack helicopters and the arming of the W-3 Sokół helicopter were frequent. W-3W and W-3PL Głuszec versions were also developed. Eight engines have been rebuilt to the later version, seven of which are still in service. In addition, Poland took over from Germany a batch of old Mi-24D machines left over from the GDR army. Today, Poland does not have a stock of anti-tank guided missiles on the Mi-24, so they have only unguided weapons.
Deputy Prime Minister @mblaszczak: What influenced our decision? These helicopters work alongside the Abrams. Together, they form an unbreakable dam. We want to build a Polish army so that the aggressor will not be tempted to attack our country.
– Ministry of National Defense 🇵🇱 (@MON_GOV_PL) September 8, 2022
Currently, the armed Mi-24, Mi-2 and W-3PL helicopters are in the 1st Aviation Brigade of the Ground Forces, including the 49th Bruce Gdanski and the 56th Air Base in Innovrokla. They urgently need replacement, which is why Poland plans to buy new machines. If a squadron of 16 helicopters is maintained, 96 machines can be procured to complete six squadrons. They will be part of the aforementioned two bases of the ground forces’ 1st Aviation Brigade, but first they will go to the new 18th Mechanized Division, similar to the American divisions of the ground forces, which include a helicopter squadron.
The Crook project was originally planned for 32 helicopters to replace the two existing Mi-24 squadrons, assuming the purchase of new attack helicopters. Recommendations about “expanding” the program’s scope were included in the 2017 Strategic Defense Review, but at least from 2016 – until 2022 – the program was at the stage of assessing the event of basic state security interest. However, now a directional decision has been taken to implement this program in FMS mode and procure a large number of Apache Guardian helicopters.
Along with the purchase of AH-64E, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that technology transfer will be received. Undoubtedly, with such a large number of helicopters planned, it is worth keeping their full service in Poland.
After the Liaison Committee meeting in Ramstein, Minister Blaszczak also mentioned the purchase of the Apache, which he discussed with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “I also requested that the time allotted for the production of helicopters be filled with helicopters leased from US military equipment” – he informed. Polish helicopters can be leased in the AH-64D version, used by the US Army alongside the Guardians, which will later be upgraded to the AH-64E Apache Guardian version.
Most AH-64E US military helicopters are produced from deep modernization (reproduction) of AH-64D version engines, although some are built from scratch. The technology transfer suggested by the minister may be related to the modernization of helicopters leased at Polish plants. It is worth noting that the US military may be involved in the training of Polish pilots and technicians, similar to the Abrams tanks.
The Apache Guardian, or AH-64E, is the latest version of the US military’s basic attack helicopter, which is also being used for operations in Poland as part of NATO’s reinforcement of the Eastern Front. These engines have composite propeller blades and new gears and heads, able to transfer power from the more powerful T700-GE-701D engines. The helicopter has an improved avionics and targeting system which, among other things, enables control of unmanned aerial vehicles and two-way transmission of operational data via Link-16.
The Apache Guardian, the latest v6 version currently in production, has an upgraded longbow radar with a range of up to 16 km, and extended capabilities to detect surface and air targets. The helicopter’s standard armament is the M230 mobile under-hull cannon, 16 Hellfire or JAGM anti-tank guided missiles, as well as 70 mm guided and unguided missiles. Another option is to use very short-range air-to-air missiles, British Brimstone ATGMs and Israeli heavy Spike NLOS missiles.
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