Poland begins AW101 Merlin helicopter induction as final delivery approaches
Three of the helicopters have arrived at the Naval Aviation Brigade air base in Darłowo, with the fourth currently being fitted out with Polish system requirements at PZL-Świdnik, the navy and the joint command said. As Shephard reported recently, all four helicopters are expected to be delivered by the end of this year.
Poland signed a contract for four AW101 helicopters for US$430 million in April 2019. Originally, the Polish Navy planned to acquire eight AW101s to replace its ageing Mi-14 helicopters currently operated from Darłowo air base. This number was reduced to four, postponing the purchase of the other four.
The Merlin helicopters will be assigned to anti-submarine roles. When Poland decided to purchase a new platform, however, the country sought a multi-role helicopter. The AW101s will also be equipped with combat search and rescue (CSAR) module, which means that they will be able to perform search and rescue missions.
The AW101 has been outfitted with a low-workload, NVG-compatible glass cockpit and fully integrated communications, navigation, avionics, and flight and mission management systems.
With the largest cabin in its class, the AW101 can carry up to 30 passengers and arranged in a variety of configurations.
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