AW-149 – The helicopter which is offered as a prospective multi-role platform for the Polish Army has been fitted with gun pods and guided missiles, while W-3PL Głuszec aircraft has been equipped, additionally, with the Spike ATGMs.
PZL-Świdnik presented the AW-149 helicopter in Kielce. This rotary-winged aircraft may be easily reconfigured in a way, which would make it suitable to carry out a variety of tasks, as transport, MEDEVAC, SAR, CSAR, special operations, reconnaissance and CAS sorties are all placed within its range of capabilities.
In Kielce, the said helicopter was presented with additional armament, including precision guided weapons. PZL Świdnik proposes that Thales-designed laser guided missiles could be used as one of the armament options. Moreover, a pod housing the CIRIT rockets, of similar purpose, is demonstrated as an alternative solution. Besides that, the AW-149 has been adopted to use gun pods as well. AW-149 is showcased as a close support helicopter, not only capable of using the unguided weapons, but also as an aircraft which is in possession of capabilities of precisely acting against targets at distances of several kilometres.
The AW-149 also features large sliding doors on both sides of the fuselage, and utilizes a 4-axis autopilot system. The helicopter has been fitted with open-architecture avionics, HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring System) suite and main gearbox which may be operated without any oil supply for up to 50 minutes.
AW-149 has a take-off weight of 8.6 tonnes, it is also capable of carrying up to 2.8 tonnes of external sling load. AW-149 top cruise speed is defined as 278 kph, its operating radius (with 12 fully equipped troops onboard) is defined as ca. 280 kilometers (150 NM).
W-3PL Głuszec CAS helicopter is another design presented by PZL Świdnik during the MSPO 2016 Defence Salon. This rotary-winged aircraft is already being operated by the Polish Army. During the exhibition, it was showcased in a variant fitted with the Spike-ER ATGM launchers. The said ATGM has a range of 8 kilometres. The integration of the missile is easier, thanks to the fact that the opto-electronic sensor used in case of the stock Głuszec may be used for the purpose of guiding the Rafael-developed missile.
Moreover, it is also possible to integrate the heavier Spike-NLOS ATGMs with the Głuszec helicopter. The range of those missiles exceeds 25 kilometres. Besides that, the W-3PL helicopter was also showcased with an armament package which is more standard, including, for example, a remotely controlled gun station fitted with a .50-cal. machine gun, or 57 mm unguided missile launchers, complemented by the elements of the Platan scattered mine-laying system.
Should a decision be made to introduce the Głuszec helicopters, armed with the Spike-ER / Spike-NLOS ATGMs, into the inventory of the Polish Army, the said weaponry may be manufactured at the Mesko facility, based in Skarżysko-Kamienna.
Considering the cooperation memorandum between Thales and PGZ, when it comes to the induction rockets, the guided weapons, showcased alongside the AW-149, could also be potentially manufactured by the Polish Industry.