April 26, 2019 / 9:24 AM / 25 days ago

Poland signs $428 million navy helicopter deal with Leonardo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland signed an agreement with Italy’s Leonardo on Friday to buy four AW101 helicopters for its navy in a deal worth 1.65 billion zlotys ($428 million).

NATO member Poland has accelerated a military overhaul since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, and the purchase of the helicopters will also provide an economic and technological boost as part of the production will take place in Poland.

“It is a joy that on one hand we are strengthening our security, and on the other hand we are building our technical capabilities and strength here in Poland,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during the signing ceremony.

In Poland, work on the helicopters will be carried out at Leonardo unit PZL-Swidnik.

The helicopters are designed to fight submarines and can carry out search and rescue operations under combat conditions, the Prime Minister’s office said on Twitter, adding that delivery is expected by the end of 2022.

Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz; editing by Jason Neely

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