Polish manufacturer awarded contract to modernise trainer aircraft

The Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with the Warsaw-based PZL company to modernise a dozen PZL-130 Orlik trainer aircraft for the Polish air force.

The PZL-130 Orlik is a turboprop trainer aircraft introduced in the 1990s. Under the contract signed with PZL, a dozen of these planes will be modernised, at a cost of PLN 186 million (EUR 44 million).

The modernisation will involve fitting the planes with new engines, improved avionics and new wings. Some PZL-130 Orliks have already been modernised under a previous contract.

Deputy Defence Minister Bartosz Kownacki said: “This is yet another deal which will assist the modernisation of the Polish army. These are planes used for basic training, needed by the Polish army, and in total 28 of these planes will eventually be modernised.”

He added: “We negotiated effectively, and the terms of the deal are attractive for the Polish Ministry of Defence. The fact that we [the ministry] have a lot of money does not mean that we should not negotiate over prices.”

Kownacki noted that the planes were built around 20 years ago and without modernisation they would be of no further use to the Polish air force. Following the upgrades they are expected to have a total lifespan of 40 years.

Kownacki also confirmed that Poland has now received all eight ordered M-346 Master jets, twin-engine trainer aircraft purchased in 2014, which will further improve the Polish air force’s training capabilities.

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