Ukraine wants to learn from the Polish Air Force’s experience in operating but in Mi-24 and Apache attack helicopters, when Kyiv is asking Washington to provide this combat vehicle for them.
Poland is the model that Ukraine wants to learn in parallel operation of weapons and military equipment according to NATO and Soviet standards, of which Apache and Mi-24 helicopters are typical examples.
On September 9, 2022, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced the decision to purchase 96 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the US, which in the future will operate in conjunction with the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank.
The decision to buy Apache is one of Warsaw’s steps to create the most powerful armed force in Europe. As a result, Defense 24 page gave more details about the intention to switch from the Soviet Mi-24 to the American Apache.
Defense 24 analysts begin their presentation from the “Warsaw Treaty” era, when Poland in the 1980s seemed to crave a well-equipped army, but could not afford to build it.
After that, the Poles could purchase only 32 Mi-24D and Mi-24B attack helicopters for their armed forces, distributed among two squadrons of the army aviation.
Faced with the above situation, to compensate for the lack of air support firepower of the army, the Polish Ministry of Defense had to re-equip the Mi-2 light helicopters and the Mi-8 medium transport with Mi-17.
After the dissolution of the “Warsaw Treaty” and the fall of the “Iron Curtain”, in the midst of difficult economic problems, Poland had to look for a “mitigated” solution, more in line with the self.
That is why the option to convert eight W-3 Sokół multi-role helicopters appeared in the attack version W-3PL Głuszec. And then Warsaw bought a batch of Mi-24D helicopters from Germany, which is still the “legacy” of the GDR.
To replace a “small” squadron that is not capable of using guided missiles, in 2016 Poland decided to launch the Kruk program to purchase 32 modern attack helicopters.
By 2017, there was an option that the Polish Ministry of Defense could purchase not 32 but up to 96 attack helicopters at the same time under the Kruk program, to equip 6 instead of just 2 squadrons.
But it turns out that during this time (from 2017 to 2022), Warsaw is still determining exactly how many attack helicopters will meet the criteria for future defensive capabilities.
The “special military operation” launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022 has shown the Poles that exactly 96 modern attack helicopters should be adopted.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has publicly stated that they plan to increase their offensive power. In addition to the 96 aircraft purchased from the US, Warsaw wants to immediately hire the corresponding number to put on combat duty before waiting for delivery.
Perhaps Poland’s operating experience will be useful to Ukraine in the condition that Kyiv is also asking the US to provide her with Apache attack helicopters to coordinate with Mi-24 in accordance with the model that Warsaw is deploying.