Europe's Airbus wins Polish chopper deal

GMT 10:16 2015 Tuesday ,21 April

Arab Today, arab today Europe's Airbus wins Polish chopper deal

Airbus helicopter
Warsaw - AFP

Airbus Helicopters has won a tender to replace Poland's Soviet-era military choppers, beating out British-Italian group AgustaWestland and US manufacturer Sikorsky, local media reported Tuesday.

Airbus, formerly Eurocopter, has won the tender to deliver 70 multipurpose Caracal EC725 helicopters to Poland's army under a contract worth an estimated 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion), according to the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

It added that Poland has awarded another lucrative army tender to US-based Raytheon for a Patriot surface-to-air missile system.

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz was expected to announce the deals later Tuesday, part of NATO-member Poland's effort to overhaul its military equipment to the tune of around 140 billion zloty ($33 billion euros, $40 billion) over 10 years.

Poland also plans to acquire armoured personnel carriers, submarines and drones during the revamp, which Warsaw has sped up because of concerns over Russia's activity in neighbouring Ukraine.  

The defence ministry had earlier said the winning helicopter would undergo tests in Poland before the contract is signed by the end of the year.

Airbus Helicopters said earlier this year that if it won the chopper tender it would set up a helicopter assembly line and a manufacturing centre for key helicopter parts in Poland's industrial hub of Lodz.

In February it opened a research and development centre there that will employ around 100 engineers.

Poland, a central European powerhouse of 38 million people, joined NATO in 1999, a decade after shedding communism. It became a member of the European Union in 2004.

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