The W-3A Sokol helicopter is a 6-tonne class twin engine helicopter capable of carrying up to 2 pilots and 12 passengers. The helicopter has been type certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) under Part 29 and by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Part 29. Featuring outstanding operational capability, the W-3A has proven to be a very effective, rugged and reliable helicopter in all conditions. Highly flexible, with significant internal and external cargo capacity, it can perform in a wide range of operations making it an excellent utility helicopter. A low cost to useful load ratio and very easy maintenance operations make the W-3A particularly attractive for operators in a wide range of applications.
The W-3A helicopter may be equipped with 12 comfortable seats or 10 foldable seats covered with fabric or leatherette to perform the transport of passengers or cargo. The W-3A interior may be customized in a style that will be suitable for the helicopter to perform the VIP transport flights. The spacious cabin and long range capability enable the helicopter to be a choice for the demanding VIP requirements.
Cargo carrying capability differentiates the W-3A. In the cabin it is possible to carry up to 2100 kg of cargo, or a combination of cargo and up to 10 passengers on folding seats. The cabin has been designed to have an unobstructed space with a regular and flat floor to enable easy arrangement of cargo and optimisation of its 7m3 area. Furthermore, two large cabin doors offer ease of access and egress. The helicopter is unique in its ability to carry external loads of up to 2100 kg on its cargo sling system. The W-3A is the only helicopter of its class able to maximize its use of a cargo hook in this way.
The W-3A expertly performs Medical Evacuation missions. Excellent flight performance, large cabin and an extensive range of role equipment ensure a highly flexible solution for operators needing to transport casualties, perform sea and mountain rescue operations. The non-retractable landing gear is of rugged design with large tyres. It is designed to withstand landings on unprepared and even very rough ground.
Fitted with Bambi Bucket or Expandable Belly Tank the W-3A is the perfect helicopter to perform fire suppression, containment and clearance operations. The Belly Tank has been designed to ensure flying speed continues to be fast, at up to 115 kts with the Belly tank fitted, and to enable very accurate and effective drops.
The W-3A helicopter equipped with the suitable equipment including search light, FLIR system, rappelling system, rescue hoist, search light, emergency medical kit has proven its outstanding ability and flexibility to perform a wide range of the law enforcement missions.
A new military version of the W3 Sokol benefits from experience gained in Iraq in combat operations. It is designed and developed in cooperation with the Polish Land Forces and the Polish Defence Industry for combat support missions, CSAR and to defeat moving and stationary armored targets.
On 11 January 2012 PZL-Swidnik, an AgustaWestland company, signed contracts with the Polish Ministry of National Defence valued at approximately PLN380 million net (€90 million) for the supply of five W-3WA Sokól helicopters and the upgrade of 14 helicopters. The manufacture and upgrading activities will be undertaken at the PZL-Swidnik factory in Poland. The five new W-3WA Sokól helicopters will be configured for VIP transport and used by the Polish Air Force to provide transport services for senior military and government personnel. Featuring outstanding operational capability, the W-3A has proven to be a very effective, rugged and reliable helicopter in all conditions. Deliveries of the five aircraft will be completed by the end of 2013.
Separate contracts for the upgrading of 14 helicopters have also been signed comprising the upgrade of four W-3 Sokól helicopters to W-3PL Gluszec armed configuration, the overhaul and upgrade of eight Mi-2 helicopters and the upgrade of two W-3VIP helicopters with a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) system. Deliveries of the upgraded W-3PL Gluszec helicopters will be completed in the second half of 2014 and represents the second batch in a plan to upgrade a total of 32 helicopters in the next five to six years, forming the back bone of Poland’s combat support capability.
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