The Polish Minister of Defense shortlisted offers from two US-based manufacturers amid its tender to replace Soviet Mil Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters.
Since 2014, Poland has been attempting to find a replacement for its fleet of 28 aging attack helicopters inherited from the Soviet era. The Kurk program saw five manufacturers apply, namely the European Airbus Helicopters with the Tiger, the Italian Leonardo with the AW249 (still under development), Turkish Aerospace Industries with the T129 Atak, Boeing with the AH-64E Guardian, and finally Bell with the AH-1Z Viper.
On April 21, 2022, during a visit to Washington to meet several representatives of the US defense industry, Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak announced that only the offers from US manufacturers, Boeing and Bell, would be retained.
“We want such weapons to be put into the equipment of the Polish Army as soon as possible,” Błaszczak commented.
Poland is not the only country aiming to accelerate the retirement of its Soviet-made material. In February 2022, the Brazilian Air Force surprisingly announced the deactivation of its fleet of 12 AH-2 Saber, a local name for Mil Mi-35M Hind-E attack helicopters. The last aircraft from the order placed in 2008 was delivered as recently as 2014.
Similarly, from April 2022, Romania suspended all operations with the MiG-21 LanceR fighter jets until further notice, accelerating the transition of its air force to Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons.