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Polish Navy to retire SH-2G helicopters

On the 10th of May 2018, during a parliament session, Wojciech Skurkiewicz, Vice-Minister of Defence informed about planned retirement of Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) helicopters.

Between 2002 and 2003, 4 of the Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters were delivered to Polish Navy together with 2 Oliver Hazard Perry missile frigates / Photo: Krzysztof Mądry, Gdyńska Brygada Lotnictwa Marynarki Wojennej

During the Thursday`s parliament session, Wojciech Skurkiewicz provided answers to MoP interpellation concerning the helicopters currently serving in Poland`s Armed Forces. According to the Vice-Minister, Mi-24W, W-3PL Głuszec, Mi-2, Mi-14, SH-2G, W-3 Sokół, W-3RM Anakonda Mi-8, Mi-17 and SW-4 Puszczyk are over 70% of their service life.

Skurkiewicz emphasized that further utilization of the above-mentioned models is dependent on the industrial capacity and spare parts availability. The biggest issues concern the Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters. Presently, there is a serious lack of spare components and no support from the helicopter manufacturer.

SH-2G Super Seasprite was fulfilling the role of anti-submarine warfare helicopters but were also used for search and rescue operations / Photo: Jakub Link-Lenczowski

After the SH-2G are retired, Ministry of Defence plans to procure 4 new ASW helicopters, capable of fulfilling SAR role as well. The procurement will be a part of acquisition procedure of new, multi-mission rotorcraft for Polish Army. According to the Vice-Minister, it`s the most urgent objective for the Ministry of Defence.

At present, Polish Navy utilizes W-3WA Anakonda helicopters, refurbished by WZL Swidnik. Crafts were delivered in 2017 and are used for SAR and transportation tasks. It was also decided, that the service life of 2 of Mi-14 PŁ/R will be extended. The helicopters will be refurbished by Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 1 from Lodz and will remain in service until 2021.

Analysis
Four Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters, initially manufactured for US Navy in 1992-1993, reached the Gdynska Brygada Lotnictwa Marynarki Wojennej in October 2002 and August 2003, together with 2 Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP) missile frigates. First two (serial no. 163544 and 163546) were delivered with the ORP Gen. T. Kościuszko OHP (273). Other 2 (serial no. 3543 and 3545) were flown in from Nordholz (Germany) Navy base. SH-2G entered Polish service in August 2003 and were based in Babie Doly, as a part of 28th Pucka Eskadra Lotnicza.

SH-2G rotorcraft is designed for reconnaissance, detection and identification of surface vessels and for ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) operations. It can also be used for SAR (Search and Rescue) missions. It is also utilized as a logistical transport helicopter for OHP frigate support. Rotorcraft is equipped with a surface-observation radar and with submarine detection equipment such as radio-hydroacoustic buoys and magnetic anomaly detector. Three of the SH-2G in Polish service were modernized in 2007 and adapted to carry Eurotorp MU90 Impact light torpedoes. One year later, the same 3 helicopters received updated armament – 7,62-mm PK machine guns.

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