Poland’s Armaments Inspectorate, acting for the MoD, shared a list of nine companies (Polish and international) keen to participate in the technical dialogue preceding an anticipated Polish Navy helicopter tender, called the “Kondor” programme to replace the currently operated Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprites. Poland procured four SH-2Gs that came with two OLIVER HAZARD PERRY frigates acquired in 2002-2003 from existing U.S. Navy stock. Today only one or two of the Super Seasprites are operational, which just does not suffice in an era of renewed Russian aggression in the Baltic.
Looking at the list of nine companies, there are no surprises here – especially if you visited any MSPO during the past five or six years: Airbus Helicopters, Bell Flight, Elbit, Enamor, GDMS Canada, Leonardo’s PZL-Świdnik, PGZ, PZL-Mielec, and Kaman – the incumbent. The procedure is expected to start in May and conclude in July.
Under Kondor the Polish Navy will procure between four and eight new naval helicopters fitting within these initial parameters:
- maximum take-off weight of 6.5 tonnes
- fit an anti-submarine warfare and combat search-and-rescue configuration
- meet modern combat requirements
- provide sufficient protection to their crews
- have adequate MRO support
Kondor helicopters will serve the Polish Navy’s Aviation Brigade and operate from existing and future ships, such as the MIECZNIK class coastal defence vessels, which the MoD intends to procure.
In 2019 the Polish MoD bought four AW101 Merlin helicopters worth €389 million from Leonardo for its Navy. These helicopters are similar to Kondor in that they are configured for ASW and CSAR operations. However, they will operate from inland bases for the Naval Aviation Brigade.