WARSAW, Poland — As part of efforts to replace Soviet-designed copters with new aircraft, the Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a deal to acquire four AW101 helos from Leonardo for the country’s Navy.

The deal is worth some 1.65 billion zloty (US $430 million), and the aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Poland by the end of 2022, the ministry said in a statement.

The contract was inked April 26 at the European group’s Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik. Leonardo was the only bidder in the tender to supply the copters after Airbus Helicopters decided to pull out of the contest last December.

The "offset requirements defined by the Polish [Ministry of Defence] made it impossible for Airbus Helicopters to submit a competitive offer," the manufacturer said in a statement sent to local news agency PAP.

The new copters, fitted with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities, are to replace the Navy’s Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite copters, according to First Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz. Local observers have also said the helos could replace the Polish Navy’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-14 copters.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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