WARSAW Dec 1 Poland has launched a tender to
buy 14 helicopters as part of an urgent operational need of the
armed forces, the defence ministry said in a statement on
Thursday without elaborating.
The ministry said NATO member Poland would spend all the
funds allocated in the state budget this year to modernise its
armed forces, despite having cancelled a preliminary deal to buy
50 Caracal helicopters from France's Airbus.
Critics said cancelling the 13.5 billion zloty ($3.4
billion) Airbus deal would mean Poland could fail to spend all
the funds earmarked for army modernisation and fall short of the
NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of output on defence.
"The Ministry of Defence plans to spend over 61 billion
zlotys on the programme of technical modernisation (of the armed
forces) in the years 2017-2022," the ministry said in its
statement on Thursday.
"Out of this, over 24 billion zlotys will be spent within
the next three years," the ministry said. "Additionally,
spending on army modernisation not included in the technical
modernisation programme will reach about 17 billion zlotys."
After cancelling the Airbus deal, Defence Minister Antoni
Macierewicz said it would buy two Black Hawk helicopters from
the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp's factory in Poland this year and
eight helicopters from the plant next year.
Later in October, the ministry said it had invited Airbus,
Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky subsidiary and
Leonardo-Finmeccanica for talks about buying army
The defence ministry was not immediately available to
comment on the tender for 14 helicopters.
NATO's European members cut defence spending to historic
lows after the break-up of the Soviet Union a quarter of a
Although military spending has increased due to Russia's
annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, among other things,
only Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia meet the goal of
spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defence.
($1 = 4.2086 zlotys)
(Reporting by Marcin Goettig; editing by David Clarke)