Poland Plans to Acquire Large Apache Guardian Fleet

 - September 9, 2022, 4:34 AM
U.S. Army AH-64Es are no strangers to Poland, having served with Battle Group Poland as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Poland has decided to buy the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian to answer its Kruk (raven) requirement for an attack helicopter. The selection over the Bell AH-1Z was announced on social media by Minister of National Defence Mariusz Blaszczak on September 8, the third day of Poland’s MSPO defense industry exhibition. The short announcement said that Poland had requested 96 Apaches from the U.S. and that the deal would also include technology transfer.

Spurred by the Ukraine crisis, the Apache selection follows shortly after Poland signed a deal with South Korea for the supply of 48 FA-50 light fighters, main battle tanks, and self-propelled howitzers. The Apaches will be in the latest AH-64E Capability Version 6 configuration, which features manned-unmanned teaming capability and increased-range fire control radar, among other improvements.

The Kruk program was launched in 2016 to procure a successor to the Mil Mi-24D/V ‘Hind’ helicopters in use with the Lotnictwo Wojsk Ladowych (LWL, Polish army aviation), which have received some upgrades to maintain their viability. The fleet currently numbers around 30 helicopters, serving with three squadrons at Inowroclaw and Pruszcz Gdanski. Project Kruk initially intended to procure 32 attack helicopters to equip two squadrons. However, the latest requirement for 96 suggests that the LWL intends to equip at least six units with the Apache.