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Poland to replace Mi-24s with new combat helicopters

The Polish military is planning to scrap its Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’ combat helicopters, replacing them with modern platforms under the Kruk (Raven) program, according to the Defence24 website.

Poland to replace Mi 24s with new combat helicopters Polish Mi-24 (Picture source: Cezary Piwowarski)

"The [Polish] Ministry of National Defence [MND] confirms high priority level of the Kruk program. The MND is focused on the acquisition of two combat rotary-wing squadrons for the Ground Forces and additional helicopters for the Navy," said an MND spokesperson, answering a request sent by the media outlet.

The new helicopters are intended to replace the ageing Mi-24s; however, the Hinds will be upgraded in order to fill the gap in the capabilities of the Polish army aviation. According to the Defence24, the country’s PZL Swidnik ITWL, a subsidiary of Italy’s Leonardo industrial conglomerate, has already received a Mi-24 for testing.

Poland has yet to choose its new combat helicopter under the Kruk program. The country is reported to be considering the acquisition of the US-made AH-64E Apache Guardian or AH-1Z Viper or the AW249 being developed by AgustaWestland (a subsidiary of Leonardo). The AH-64E was supposed to be the winner; however, the recent acquisition of Vipers and Venoms by the Czech Republic increases the chances of the AH-1Z, writes the Defence24.

At the same time, the AgustaWestland’s bid may win the competition. In May, Leonardo and Poland signed a contract worth some EUR380 million (USD421 million) for four AW101 naval helicopters for the Polish Navy. The delivery of these rotorcraft was scheduled for 2022. The agreement drastically raises Italy’s chances to win the Kruk program (as mentioned earlier, AgustaWestland owns the PZL Swidnik company, one of Poland’s large manufacturers of rotary-wing aircraft), writes the Defence24 website.

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