Leonardo and PGZ sign letter of intent on the AW249 combat helicopter

Leonardo and Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. (PGZ) signed a Letter of Intent (LoI)
that will see the two companies collaborate on the AW249, the only new combat
helicopter currently being designed, aiming to meet the Polish Army’s requirement for
a new combat helicopter.


With this LoI, Leonardo and PGZ will explore collaboration in a number of areas
including design, manufacturing, final assembly, marketing and aftersales support for
the AW249 helicopter.
The document reinforces PGZ and Leonardo’s common interest in the development
and production of a new combat helicopter, created for the needs of the Italian Army,
and its Polish variant which is being considered under Poland’s “Kruk” procurement.
Thanks to this collaboration, Poland’s defence industry will have the unique
opportunity to participate in a brand new helicopter development programme, while at
the same time contributing to the modernization plans of the Polish Armed Forces
with a new state-of-the-art platform.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “This agreement
is a significant milestone in the on-going cooperation between Italian and Polish
defence industries, involving the latter in the most important ongoing combat
helicopter programme. Leonardo, through PZL-Swidnik, has been working with the
Polish Ministry of National Defence for years and this agreement opens new avenues
of response to the Kruk programme, allowing us to address the future of Polish
defence alongside PGZ.”
Jakub Skiba, President of the Management Board of PGZ, said: “Today’s agreement
opens up new opportunities for PGZ Companies in the Aviation Domain. Cooperation
with Italian industry in the joint development of solutions for our Armed Forces in the
“Kruk” programme will allow us to expand our capabilities and involve our companies
– in close cooperation with Leonardo’s PZL-Swidnik plant – in the AW249
programme. This high technology programme, led by Leonardo, will be also
promoted in further markets”.
The AW249 will feature all the latest technology developments in its market segment
and will benefit from the extensive operational expertise logged by Leonardo’s
AW129 and the know-how of the Company in this specific helicopter sector.
With a MTOW in the range of 7-8 tonne and useful load in excess of 1800kgs, the
AW249 will have speed and endurance that is able to sustain the most difficult close
air support and armed escort operations. The AW249 will feature state-of-the-art
communication and battlefield management systems; its mission system is able to
operate and manage UAVs and features a number of situational awareness aids to
reduce pilot workload and increase safety. Additionally, thanks to its advanced
technologies and design philosophy, the AW249 will have significant improvements in
life-cycle costs over previous generation helicopters.
In addition to a turreted gun, the AW249 will have a flexible weapon system with six
wing store stations that can carry a combination of air-to-ground or air-to-air missiles,
unguided/guided rockets or external fuel tanks. Two powerful engines will allow for
operations in all environmental conditions (cold, hot & high and maritime).
Leonardo and PGZ have an established dialogue on defence and security industrial
cooperation, with multiple agreements signed in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The aim of
these agreements is to strengthen cooperation between the PGZ Group and
Leonardo, particularly in relation to the helicopters offered by Leonardo to the Polish
Ministry of Defence. Should Leonardo be selected by the Polish MoD for the new
helicopter requirements, companies in the PGZ Group will take part in the
manufacture and servicing of helicopters.
Leonardo signed a multiyear contract with the Italian Ministry of Defence in January
2017, aimed at meeting the requirement of the Italian Army to replace the current
fleet of AW129s, which are expected to be retired from service by 2026 following over
35 years in operations. It will allow the service to introduce an even more
technologically advanced product, with greater performance and lower operating
costs, to meet arising needs in evolving scenarios for the next 30 years.
Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) is a leader of the Polish industry and one of the
largest armaments holdings in Europe. It unites over 60 companies (from the
following industries: defence, shipbuilding, new technologies) and generates an
annual revenue of PLN 4,5bn. Thanks to the utilisation of the potential for
nationalising technology, close cooperation with Polish scientific circles, and pressure
on the research and development process, PGZ is offering innovative and securityimproving
products. PGZ’s offer comprises, among other things, a very short range
air defence system with the POPRAD system and the SOŁA radar; portable anti-air
GROM and PIORUN systems; the PILICA very short-range anti-air missile and
artillery system; the PGZ-19R unmanned aerial vehicle system; the ROSOMAK
armoured personnel carrier; the RAK self-propelled mortar; an artillery system with
the KRAB self-tracked howitzer; and individual personnel equipment with BERYL
assault rifles. Additionally, PGZ possesses competence in the field of designing,
constructing, and equipping military ships. Moreover, PGZ has been modernising and
maintaining vehicles, airplanes, helicopters, and military ships (including but not
limited to the equipment produced in former USSR). In the nearest future, PGZ will
be developing space and satellite technologies as well as cyber technologies.
Leonardo is among the top ten global players in Aerospace, Defence and Security
and Italy’s main industrial company. Organised into seven business divisions
(Helicopters; Aircraft; Aero-structures; Airborne & Space Systems; Land & Naval
Defence Electronics; Defence Systems; Security & Information Systems), Leonardo
operates in the most competitive international markets by leveraging its areas of
technology and product leadership. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), in
2017 Leonardo recorded consolidated restated revenues of 11.7 billion Euros and
has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the UK, the U.S. and Poland.