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AH-64E Apache Squadron Elevates Poland’s Defense with Europe’s Most Advanced Attack Helicopter

Poland last year decided to purchase American-made Apache armed helicopters to replace its aging fleet.

The Russo-Ukrainian war was the driving force behind Poland’s arms purchases. A year ago, the Polish government sent the US side an offer to purchase Apache helicopters manufactured by Boeing. According to the plan, the first of these will be assigned to the 18th Division of the Polish Army.

Poland has now been approved to purchase a $12 billion package of multi-purpose attack helicopters in a move announced by the US State Department on August 21. Accordingly, 96 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters will be delivered to Poland. Previously, the US Army leased eight AH-64E Apache helicopters to the Polish Army for training purposes.

According to the DSCA, Poland has requested to buy attack helicopters with 1,844 Hellfire missiles, 460 AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground missiles, 508 Stinger 92K Block I missiles and 7,650 WGU-59/B Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS-II) Guidance Sections rockets.

Also added that the proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force that is capable of deterring adversaries and participating in NATO operations.

Poland last year decided to purchase American-made Apache armed helicopters to replace its aging fleet. Polish officials announced in January plans to spend 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense in 2023, more than double NATO’s 2% target.

The AH-64 Apache helicopter was developed in the 1970s, and entered service with the US Army in 1986. The AH-64E variant, formerly known as the AH-64D Block III, features several improvements in connectivity and information distribution, radar, and more powerful engines than older models.

Currently, the Polish Air Force flies four Russian rotorcraft models: the Mi-17, Mi-17AE, Mi-17-1V and the Mi-8MT, all of which Poland procured between 1987 and 1989. The Polish Air Force already inducted 36 F-16C and 12 F-16D units in 2003. The service is also waiting for the delivery of 32 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets due between 2024 and 2030.

Poland is not exclusively interested in American platforms. The armed forces have incorporated a diverse range of platforms over the past two years. Poland has agreed to induct South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, and it will produce them in Poland. Similarly, Poland has adopted the British Arrowhead 140 concept for its Miecnik frigates, modelled on British Type 31s.

This diversity comes back to the country’s plan to become a rising star in Europe’s rejuvenating defence industry at a time of intense military build-up. Poland is looking to unseat competitors across the continent with its young but growing domestic defence industrial base.