Procurement: The Philippines Prefers Polish Choppers


June 11, 2010: The Philippines has ordered eight W-3A transport helicopters from Polish firm PZL-Swidnik. The six ton W-3 was originally developed in Poland in the 1970s and was sold to other East European nations, as a competitor to the Russian Mi-8. When the Cold War ended, the W-3 was upgraded and certified to operate in Western countries. The twin engine W-3 can carry twelve passengers. Some W-3s were used with Polish troops in Iraq, and it is now serving in Afghanistan.  

There is also a W-3PL "battle support" helicopter version, and some of  these are serveral with Polish troops in Afghanistan. This is not a gunship, but it has an armored floor, and is otherwise not as robust as choppers specifically built as gunships. The W-3PL has a radar, HUD (head up display), anti-missile system (detectors and flare dispensers) and is armed with a 12.7mm machine-gun turret under the nose, There are winglets for carrying rockets and missiles.

The Philippines bought the W-3 because the aircraft had a good track record, and it was, like the Russian Mil-8, cheap (in this case, $8.5 million each).






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