09 Jul 14. Poland starts ‘Kruk’ attack helicopter acquisition programme.
The Polish Armament Inspectorate officially launched its ‘Kruk’ (Raven) attack helicopter acquisition programme on 8 July, which will eventually replace the country’s ageing Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’ combat helicopters. The purchase of 32 new attack helicopters comes under a PLN11.6bn (USD3.8bn) priority project that also includes the acquisition of 70 multi-role helicopters. The main competitors in the future ‘Kruk’ tender are expected to be the AgustaWestland/Turkish Aerospace Industries T129; the Boeing AH-64E Apache ‘Guardian’; and the Airbus Helicopters EC 665 Tiger. The ‘Kruk’ acquisition plan is divided into two phases: the first will see the creation of the Polish Armed Forces’ technical and operational requirements, following market research; with the second focusing on creating a feasibility study and staffing requirements. The ‘Kruk’ programme comes under Poland’s ‘Technical Modernisation Programme 2013-2022’. The country announced in late May that it is planning to accelerate the acquisition of attack helicopters due to the crisis in Ukraine. A formal tender for approximately 32 attack helicopters is now expected to be launched in 2015 instead of 2018, as originally envisaged under the Polish modernisation programme. The new helicopters will replace Poland’s 29 Soviet-made Mil Mi-24D ‘Hind-D’ and Mi-24W ‘Hind-E’ combat helicopters. Poland began operating four Mil Mi-24D ‘Hind-D’ helicopters in January 1979 and purchased 16 Mil Mi-24D helicopters in 1985. A second batch of 16 Mil Mi-24W ‘Hind-E’ was acquired in 1986, followed a decade later by the purchase in 1996 of 18 ex-East German Mi-24D helicopters: 16 for operational service, and two to cannibalise for spares. Under the original draft plans, of the first 20 Kruk helicopters delivered, 12 were scheduled for delivery to the Land Force’s 1st Aviation Brigade (1 BLWL) and eight to the Air Force’s 7th Special Operation Squadron (7 EDS). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Jul 14. Corrosion Delays Dutch NH90 Acquisition. Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert informed parliament last week that the Netherlands will suspend the acquisition of NH90 helicopters until corrosion problems are solved. Corrosion is greater than expected in the two operational Dutch NH90s after they returned from counterpiracy and counternarcotics operations off the Somali coast and in the Caribbean, respectively, so the seven remaining helicopters will not be acquired for the time being, she wrote in a letter to parliament June 27. The Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory found 92 corrosion occurences in the helicopters, which it attributes to a combination of design and assembly faults and the wrong choice of materials. In some cases, the corrosion was caused by combining materials without isolating them. The corrosion is causing extra wear to moving parts. France is reported to be having similar problems with its NH90s, albeit on a smaller scale. (Source: glstrade.com/AvWeek)
09 Jul 14. Indian MoD to sign Apache and Chinook helicopter contracts with US. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is reportedly close to signing two contracts worth more than $2.5bn with the US for the supply of Apache and Chinook helicopters. An unnamed MoD official was quoted by The Times of India as saying that the two Indian Air Force (IAF) deals would be put forward for clearance before the first defence acquisitions council (DAC) meeting to be chaired by the new defence minister Arun Jaitley on 19 July. “Thereafter, the cases will be moved for the cabinet committee on security’s final nod,” the official said. The first $1.4bn contract covers delivery of 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters, while 15 CH-47F Chinooks equipped with contra-rotating tandem rotors will be supplied under the second $1.1bn deal. The Apache deal is hybrid, with one contract to be signed with Boeing for helicopters, and another with the US Government for 812 AGM-114L-