By John Hill
Poland’s Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Blaszczak, has signed the first of several offset agreements with American defence prime, Lockheed Martin, regarding its recent procurement of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters on 25 September.
This offset comes just after the US State Department approved Poland’s acquisition of 96 AH-64E units under a Foreign Military Sales agreement; the deal marks the completion of Poland’s ‘Kruk’ programme to select a modern attack helicopter fleet.
“I have just signed an offset agreement, [it] gives the Polish defence industry the ability to service and repair the radars and missile guidance systems that are onboard the Apache helicopters,” Blaszczak stated during his visit to the US.
Worth approximately 300m zlotys ($114m), Boeing will deliver the helicopters within five years. This is the first of several agreements that the US Treasury intends to conclude as part of the acquisition of AH-64E attack helicopters.
Due to this offset, the Polish Government has allowed its domestic industrial base to diagnose and verify possible malfunctions and partial servicing of Longbow fire control radars.
“We start with offset agreements because that is what Polish law requires,” Blaszczak added.
The fundamental legal document which regulates applying offset in Poland is the “Offset Act” of 26 June 2014 on some contracts concluding in connection with performance the orders for the purposes of defence or security of the state.
The helicopters will go to the eastern flank of Nato to the 18th Mechanised Division based in Siedlce, eastern Poland.
Boeing, the original equipment manufacturer, hosted Blaszczak and the Polish delegation at the company’s Mesa facility in Arizona on 26 September. The minister met with Boeing leaders and toured the AH-64 Apache production line in celebration of Poland’s recent Apache selection.
“These are the world’s best attack helicopters. This is a very modern and combat-proven platform – at the same time it is a new quality for the Polish military, which is bidding farewell to outdated post-Soviet designs,” the Polish Ministry of National Defence emphasised in its release.
Boeing designed the Apache for the US Army so that it will work alongside Abrams – an effective American main battle tank. This comes just as the Polish Government established a competency centre for Abrams tanks in Poznan, western Poland and as more Abrams MBTs enter the Polish inventory.
“[The Apache] works great together with [the Abrams] tanks… Thank you [to the US] for the close co-operation. Especially with the V Corps of the US Army, the advanced element of which is permanently, and I emphasise this very strongly, stationed in Poland,” Blaszczak stated.
“Regular training sessions are held, where Polish soldiers together with American soldiers improve their skills. We adopt the best models. This is because American ground troops are the strongest in the world, so we learn from the best.”
“Our goal is to prevent Russian incursion. We are all well aware of the attempts to rebuild the Russian empire. The best answer to these attempts is to create strong Polish Armed Forces.”