On 13th July the Armaments Inspectorate, which acts on behalf of the Polish Ministry of Defense (MoD) informed that it stopped the analytical and conceptual phase of the ‘Drop’ programme, which called for procurement of a number of medium transport aircraft, which will replace currently operated Lockheed Martin C‑130E Hercules.
According to the Armaments Inspectorate, the reason for stopping the analytical and conceptual phase of the ‘Drop’ programme was the ‘redefinition of operational requirements’. However, this does not mean that the Polish Air Force won’t eventually procure a number of medium transport aircraft. ‘Drop’ programme will most likely require redefining and reevaluation of priorities.
The ‘Drop’ programme was launched in May 2019. At that time the Armaments Inspectorate informed about a plan to launch a technical dialogue, which was to outline main technical requirements for the procurement of medium transport aircraft. Eventually, a number of manufacturers decided to participate in the project. This included: Leonardo, Airbus Defence & Space, Embraer, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Sam dialog miał zostać przeprowadzony w terminie wrzesień 2019 – maj 2020.
Currently the Polish MoD continues discussion with the US government about the possible acquisition of a five 2nd hand Lockheed Martin C‑130H Hercules medium transport aircraft. If negotiations with authorities in Washington turn out successful, the ‘Drop’ programme will most likely be formally cancelled and Poland will end up procuring ex-US Hercules aircraft.