PARIS — Airbus Group had invested heavily in a Polish tender and now aims to take action after Warsaw broke off exclusive talks for a 50-strong order of the Caracal military transport helicopter, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said.
"We spent a huge amount of efforts and money in recent years trusting that we were in a fair and professionally conducted competition," Ender said in a statement. "We will of course seek remedies".
Poland on Oct. 4 knocked Airbus Helicopters out of exclusive negotiations for a deal worth 13.5 billion zloty (US $3.5 billion).
That cancellation came as a surprise, all the more so as Airbus had planned to invest in Poland and expand its industrial footprint.
"We have an impression that we have been misled for months by the current Polish government," Enders said. "Never have we been treated by any government customer the way this government has treated us.
"Airbus wanted to invest in Poland big time and we wanted to contribute to building a competitive aerospace industry in this country. But the Polish government slammed the door on us. We take note of this."
Industry sources said Airbus had invested several tens of millions of euros in the Polish sales campaign, Reuters reported. France has now put a hold on bilateral ties, with President François Hollande canceling a planned trip to the east European nation, while Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is due to go to Poland shortly.
Paris had previously fostered close ties to Warsaw, with French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in 2014 flying to Poland to tell his then-Polish counterpart that France had suspended a sale of the Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia. That suspension was seen as helping the French Caracal offer, then in competition with the Sikorsky Black Hawk and Leonardo AW149.
On Aug. 28, the French, German and Polish foreign ministers said in a statement they looked to the Weimar Triangle trilateral agreement to help Europe build a deeper and more effective defense and security policy.
France has now put that political drive on hold in the wake of the aborted helicopter deal.
DCNS, the French naval shipbuilder, had hoped to sell its Scorpene attack submarine, in competition with German rival HDW.
MBDA and Thales had through their Eurosam joint venture prepared a bid for Poland’s Wisla tender for a medium-range missile defense system, in competition with Raytheon’s Patriot weapon.
Airbus had also hoped to pitch its Tiger attack helicopter and a light utility helicopter to the Polish services.