PARIS — Poland is negotiating with both France and Airbus Helicopters for a technology transfer on a planned order of 50 Caracal military transport helicopters, according to sources close to the deal.
"The discussions are going on," said a French defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They are extremely active."
Talks on the technology transfer are crucial as they will allow local industry to assemble the utility helicopter, which Poland picked over competing offers from Leonardo-Finmeccanica and Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky.
The Polish Ministry of Defence selected the Caracal, but the country's Ministry of Development is now negotiating with Airbus Helicopters on the technology transfer.
The Polish requirement is highly specific and will require development to equip the helicopter to meet the multirole needs. Poland wants to arm the helicopter with a missile, a specification which Airbus Helicopters can meet. Sikorsky was denied permission to build an armed version of its Black Hawk by its previous parent company, United Technologies. Lockheed Martin, which has signed up a client for its design for an armed Black Hawk, displayed the helicopter with weapons at the Farnborough International Airshow.
Separately, Airbus Helicopters is responding to a Polish request for information for a combat helicopter and is offering its Tiger helicopter.
Poland also has a requirement for a light utility helicopter, an aircraft along the lines of the Lakota aircraft, which Airbus has delivered to the US Army. The Polish authorities have yet to issue a request for information for the light helicopter.