BAE, WZL-1 pact strengthens Hawk pitch to Poland

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BAE Systems has signed a memorandum of understanding with Poland's WZL-1 Military Aviation Works in Lodz, under which the UK company will transfer maintenance and overhaul activities to Deblin if its Hawk advanced jet trainer is selected by the nation's air force.

"Poland is a strategic market for us and we are ready to hand over the responsibility to maintain and overhaul Hawk AJT in Poland for the whole operational life of the new aircraft. WZL-1 is the ideal industrial partner for us," says Phil Hodge, BAE's training solutions business development director.

Under the new agreement, WZL-1's existing branch in Deblin would become responsible for the fleet management of Polish air force Hawks, including scheduled and unscheduled maintenance at the operational, intermediate and depot maintenance levels. This would see the facility, which is currently used for the maintenance of PZL-Mielec TS-11 Iskra trainers and their SO-3 engines, receive an integrated logistics management system for the UK-built type.

Poland's defence ministry in early April issued a request for proposals for a planned 16-aircraft advanced jet trainer requirement. Other candidates are likely to include the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, with the new type to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.

In early April, WZL-1 also signed memoranda of understanding with Eurocopter and Turbomeca, leading to the possible creation of assembly lines in Poland should the EC725 Caracal, which is powered by Makila engines, win a tender for 70 new military helicopters.