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Ukraine & Poland discuss possibility of a joint helicopter program

Ukraine and Poland are in apparent discussions over the possibility of jointly developing and producing a helicopter, one that could be used for defence purposes by Central and East European countries.

Poland’s Minister of Defence Antoni Macierewicz noted to a Polish broadcaster that Warsaw and Kiev are adeptly positioned to produce a viable platform, with Poland having a grasp of composite aerostructures and Ukraine with experience on propulsion (Defense News).

This proposal has no bearing on Poland’s existing military helicopter requirements.

Notes & Comments:

In recent years, Poland has been seeking to energize its domestic aviation industry. A major acquisition from Airbus Helicopters for 50 H225M Caracal helicopters was to have apparently played a key role in that process (via offsets and local assembly and manufacturing). However, Warsaw backed away from the $3.5 billion U.S. deal, opting instead to review Lockheed Martin’s Black Hawk proposal.

Non-procurement related developmental proposals – with Ukraine – have been proposed as well. A recent example was the Grot-2 trainer, which was envisaged in January as an advanced jet trainer that could double as a lightweight multi-role platform. As with the proposed helicopter program, the Grot-2 was to pair Poland’s airframe development experience with Ukraine’s competency in propulsion. At this stage, however, the Grot-2 has not (at least publicly) progressed beyond the proposal stage.

For its part, Ukraine has been looking to leverage its research and development competency in various areas as a means to draw interest from major overseas buyers, such as Turkey (with whom Ukraine has a joint initiative to co-produce transport aircraft). Joint ventures with Poland and others would enable Kiev to acquire the funding to advance domestic development as well as freshen its product lines, which – for the most part – still draw upon Ukraine’s legacy relations with Russia.

With the notion preliminary at best, it is not known what the design objectives of the proposed helicopter are at this time, though a lightweight utility design could be seen (assuming the idea advances).

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