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MSPO 2017: Viper 'top contender' for Kruk

8th September 2017 - 11:00 GMT | by Richard Thomas in Kielce

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Following the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to conduct a transition study for the Polish military’s Kruk helicopter programme, officials from Bell Helicopter say they will meet all offsets required of them by Poland’s government.

The study is the latest in a series of announcements between Bell Helicopter and the Polish armaments group PGZ, following on from the signing of an LOI in December 2016 to explore future industrial cooperation for the Kruk programme.

In July this year the two sides signed an LOI to cooperate on the UH-1Y Venom for the Polish market, which will expand areas of potential cooperation related to Poland’s future utility helicopter needs, including indigenous production and maintenance work.

The UH-1Y and AH-1Z, the platform put forward for the Kruk programme, share an 85% part commonality, assisting in the logistics and maintenance demands during operations.

The agreement at MSPO in Kielce this week was signed in the presence of Bartosz Kownacki, secretary of state at the Ministry of National Defense.

Speaking to Shephard, Joel Best, senior manager for Europe at Bell’s military programmes division, said that the company would ‘meet all requirements for whatever offset they require’, although did caution that at present it is not known what this would entail.

Best said that although Bell Helicopter was once considered ‘an underdog’ in the programme, it was now a ‘top contender’.

The length of the programme has been questioned in some circles, however Best said that Poland was ‘just trying to be careful and thorough’ with its analysis of the programme.

Best added that the signing of the transition study was a positive step and the programme once awarded would run for ’30 to 40 years’.

The USMC currently operates the AH-1Z and is already planning upgrades and improvements to the platform in the 2022-2023 timeframe. 

It is thought that Poland would like to have an acquisition in place by Q3 of 2018.

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