Airbus Helicopters Responds to Polish H225M Programme Cancellation
On October 4, Polish government announced the end of negotiations with Airbus Helicopters over the unresolved issues of offsets. “Poland considers the negotiations with Airbus Helicopters on an offset agreement related to the contract to purchase multi-purpose helicopters to be terminated. The contract did not present an offset agreement that would sufficiently secure the economic interest and security of the Polish state”, the government stated. The deal to acquire H225M helicopters was estimated to be around USD 3.5 billion.

Responding to the cancellation through an open letter, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, Guillaume Faury said, “Airbus Helicopters strongly refutes some allegations reported in media that it has carried out this negotiation process in bad faith. On September 30, four days before the ministry of development’s decision, Airbus Helicopters accepted to extend the validity of its offer at the request of the ministry of defence until November 30. In spite of a slow negotiation process initiated with the ministry of development in September 2015, Airbus Helicopters has remained fully committed to finding an agreement with Poland”.

Speaking specifically on the offset offer, Faury stated that the Airbus Helicopters’ offset offer would have provided Poland with at least 30 years of activity for state owned Polish companies through multiple industrial projects such as state-owned manufacturing facilities, helicopter MRO centres, transfer of source codes and licences to modernise helicopters and other systems. “Our offset offer would have transformed WZL1 company, a state-owned company belonging to Polish Defence Group PGZ into a world-class helicopter industrial centre”, he added.

In its offer, Airbus Helicopters agreed to establish the first state-owned helicopter plant in Poland with WZL1 company, and in which Poland would have had a 90 per cent stake. Airbus Helicopters offered a full H225M Caracal assembly line mirroring the capabilities of the existing French facility. “This would have allowed the production of helicopters both for the domestic and the export markets, as well as a growth potential to produce other helicopter types in the future”, Faury added. “Our offer included a firm commitment to deliver helicopters from WZL1 to the export market. It is therefore misleading to compare this project to a mere ‘painting shop’”.

A minimum of 50 H225 helicopters would have been fully produced in Poland. “Taking into account the time needed to transfer technology in country, and in order to comply with the urgent operational requirements of the Polish armed forces, an initial batch of helicopters would have been assembled in France, by Polish workers from WZL1. This would have ensured the proper transfer of skills, know-how and technology to Poland”, added Faury.


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