Poland’s Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak, announced today that his government sent a letter of inquiry to establish the purchase of 96 Apache attack helicopters (GUARDIAN variant) to replace its aging fleet of Mi-24 attack helicopters. If this deal is approved, Poland would have the second largest Apache fleet after the U.S.
Poland maintains (30) Mi-24W/Ds, (27) Mi-8/17s, (38) PZL W-3s, (41) PZL Mi-2 and already has an order for (32) AW149s from Italy. The KRUK Attack Helicopter Program has been an acquisitions campaign to modernize the fleet of attack helicopters, but not its combat support and utility platforms. The original framework called for a 1:1 replacement of the Mi-24s, but this purchase almost triples the original number.
Earlier this year, Poland sent an unspecific request for 32 helicopters from the U.S., but the details were not given. This increase in order size likely reflects Poland’s renewed vigor in national defense and NATO membership since the February invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. Poland serves as a critical partner in shipping western military aid to the war torn nation through several border crossing points, drawing the ire of the Russian Federation.
Formerly known as AH-64D Block III, in 2012, it was re-designated as AH-64E Guardian. It has improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to handle more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. New composite rotor blades, which completed testing in 2004, increase cruise speed, climb rate, and payload capacity. (wiki)