The PZL W-3 Sokół (English: "Falcon") is a medium-size, twin-engine, multipurpose helicopter developed and manufactured by Polish helicopter company PZL-Świdnik (now AgustaWestland Świdnik). It was the first helicopter entirely designed and produced in Poland.
|A W-3 Sokół of the Polish Army|
|Role||Multipurpose utility helicopter|
|First flight||16 November 1979|
|Primary users||Polish Armed Forces|
Czech Air Force
Philippine Air Force , Myanmar Air Force
|Number built||149 (as of 2011)|
During 1973, work commenced upon what would become the W-3 Sokół at PZL Świdnik; design work was performed by an in-house team led by aeronautical engineer Stanisław Kamiński. A major influence on the design was the perceived demands from both military and civilian aviation across the Soviet Union, which was envisioned to serve as the major operator of the type. On 16 November 1979, the Sokół conducted its maiden flight. Following an intensive test programme, type certificated for the helicopter was received from aviation authorities in Poland, Russia, the United States and Germany.
During May 1993, certification of the Sokol to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) FAR Part 29 standards was granted; it was followed by the receipt of German certification during December of that year. During 1985, low rate production of the Sokół commenced. In June 1996, the 100th Sokół was completed by the company.
During the 1990s, PZL-Świdnik heavily pursued the development of an envisioned Huzar battlefield helicopter, which was to be based on the airframe of the W-3 Sokol and would have eventually involved the manufacture of 100 such attack helicopters under a tentative $350 million contract for the Polish Army. While the programme was initiated by the company, it was heavily afflicted by repeated setbacks and delays as PZL-Świdnik's financial state worsened as well as the firm often waiting for years for development funds to be issued by the Polish government with which it could formally launch the next phase of development. When a contract for the helicopter's avionics and weapon systems was awarded within a government memorandum of understanding (MoU) to an Israeli consortium, consisting of armaments manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and defense electronics company Elbit Systems, making them the intended supplier for both the missiles and avionics for the helicopter.
During 1998, the Polish Council of Ministers issued its recommendation for the launch of a new tender in support of the envisioned Huzar. Specifically, the tender sought an avionics and weapons systems integrator for the new rotorcraft, potentially replacing the originally selected Israeli consortium due to alleged irregularities involved in the prior arrangement's awarding. American firm Boeing, who led their own bid involving in excess of 20 separate companies, represented Elbit's chief competitor for the integration contract; at one point, it appeared that political changes to the competition had made Boeing the favourite to win the contract. While Rafael's NT-D anti-tank missile was selected, this was subject to the successful completion of several test launches; if it failed, rival bids from Boeing for the AGM-114 Hellfire, British firm GEC-Marconi with the Brimstone and the Franko-German company Euromissile's HOT 3 missile. The Israeli Government resisted breaking up its consortium for a separate avionics integration contract, stated it would refuse to release the NT-D missile unless it was also awarded the avionics bid, but reportedly softened on this stance.
However, during mid-1999, the Polish government's plans for the Huzar helicopter were entirely abandoned, effectively ending development of the derivative immediately. In its place, a smaller fleet of W-3 Sokol, modified for the support role, was to be adopted in the short term instead. Invitations for bids for the upgrading of 50 rotorcraft, including the adoption of new rotor blades, more powerful engines, extra fuel tanks and additional armaments, was issued thereafter. At the time, Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek stated that, for the long term requirement, a new tender for attack helicopter was to be issued by the end of June that year, and "we expect a decision in October or November"; the envisioned competition was to be contested by the Italian Agusta A129 Mangusta, the American Bell AH-1W/Z Super Cobra and Boeing AH-64 Apache, the European Eurocopter Tiger and South African Denel Rooivalk attack helicopters. Poland ultimately chose to pursue a relatively modest stopgap plan to upgrade its existing Mil Mi-24 fleet with Israeli-built equipment.
During the early 2000s, PLZ Swidnik issued an offer for the upgrade of 12 Sokols previously operated by the Polish Air Force in the training role, converting them to perform the search and rescue mission instead; amongst the changes involved was the installation of Rockwell Collins-built ARC-210 transceivers and the adoption of new night-vision goggles (NVG)-compatible cockpits. In 2006, this offer was met with a corresponding contract, which would ultimately led to the production of an improved model of the rotorcraft, designated as the W-3PL Gluszec; in addition to the above improvements, a new flight control system and upgraded powerplants featuring full authority digital engine control (FADEC) software, were adopted, along with various changes to the communication, navigation and self-protection systems. The variant, which had been developed partially based upon combat experience gained in Iraq, attracted the attention of the Polish land forces, leading to discussions on modernising additional W-3 helicopters to the Gluszec standard. By January 2012, a follow-up order for another four Sokols re-built to the W-3PL configuration had been issued.
During the mid-2000s, it was reported that, as part of a wider proposed industrial partnership between PLZ Swidnik and Indonesian aircraft company Indonesian Aerospace (IAe), discussions on the potential outsourcing of manufacturing work on the Sokol helicopter, focused on the airframe and some of the subassemblies, were held; it was also stated that a wider licensing agreement in respect to the Sokol had already been ruled out as IAe were not prepared to accept responsibility for marketing and sales for the helicopter.
Following Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland's acquisition of PZL Swidnik, the W-3 Sokol was incorporated into the new parent company's product line and has continued to be marketed and sold.
The PZL W-3 Sokół is a medium-size, twin-engine, multipurpose rotorcraft. The helicopter employs a relatively conventional design and construction. It is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Rzeszów-built PZL-10B turboshaft engines; the original powerplant, the PZL-10W, was based on the earlier PZL-10S – a licensed derivative of the Russian-designed TVD-10B turboprop engines which had powered the Polish-built Antonov An-28. Composites are used in the construction of the three-bladed tail and four-bladed main rotors.
The Sokół has been offered in a number of diverse variants and is capable of performing a typical range of helicopter missions, including passenger transport, VIP, cargo, EMS, medevac, firefighting and search and rescue. When used in maritime environments, the rotorcraft is typically outfitted with floats, a transponder, a global positioning system navigation system, night-vision equipment, and a Lucas winch.
During 1995, South Korean operator Citiair issued a firm order for the purchase of three transport-orientated W-3A Sokół helicopters. Citiair chose fit various additional equipment on the type, including floats, as two of them were to routinely travel to the island of Ulleungdo, roughly 180 km (110 miles) from the Korean mainland, while the third was to be operated in the nation's more mountainous regions. During the same year, Polish oil company Petrobaltic ordered a single W-3RM Anaconda maritime helicopter, while primarily designed for search and rescue (SAR) duties, it was used by the company for transporting personnel, supplies and equipment to its Baltic oil drilling platforms.
The Polish military has been a key customer for the Sokol. During the mid-1990s, a 15-year modernisation plan called for the procurement of 90 transport-orientated Sokols, along with 100 Huzar battlefield helicopter (a later-cancelled derivative of the Sokol). During the mid-1990s, During early 1996, Poland exchanged a batch of 11 W-3 Sokółs with the neighbouring Czech Republic in exchange for 10 Mikoyan MiG-29. Maritime-orientated W-3RM Anaconda maritime helicopters were adopted by the Polish naval service, who used the type to perform the SAR role.
Since 2003, a batch of four W-3WA helicopters were used by the Independent Air Attack Group (Polish: Samodzielna Grupa Powietrzno-Szturmowa) of the Polish forces in Iraq in support of coalition operations in the region as a part of Poland's contribution to the Iraq War. In total, eight Polish helicopters were deployed to the region until 2008. during summer 2004, the type participated in the distribution of propaganda leaflets as part of wider efforts to undermine support for Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. On 15 December 2004, one Sokol was lost due to an accidental crash-landing near Karbala, killing three personnel onboard and injuring three more.
Since January 2012, a force of five W-3 Sokol helicopters, along with six Mil Mi-8, have been furnished with a VIP configuration and stationed at Poland's 1st Air Transport Base following a major reshuffle of assets.
Military production versions.
Prototypes and proposals that were not adopted by armed forces.
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
The 36 Specjalny Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego 36 SPLT (English: 36th Special Regiment of Aviation Transport) was a special aviation regiment of the Siły Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, established in 1945. All of its aircraft were for national public use, the most important being transport of Polish politicians and MON highest officials & forces commanders. It was headquartered at the 1st Air Base at Warsaw Chopin Airport (formerly Okęcie). Between 1947 and 1974 it operated as Special Air Regiment, earlier as Government Transport Squadron. It was shut down in 2011 after the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash accident report found serious deficiencies in its organization and training, and its aircraft retired.Emergency medical services in Poland
Emergency Medical Services (Polish: Państwowe Ratownictwo Medyczne, PRM) in Poland is a service of public pre-hospital emergency healthcare, including ambulance service, provided by individual Polish cities and counties. These services are typically provided by the local, publicly operated hospital, and funded by the government of Poland. In a number of cases, the hospitals contract these services to private operators. In addition to publicly funded services, there are also a variety of private-for-profit ambulance services operating independently, as well.Equipment of the Polish Army
The Polish military continues to use some Soviet-era equipment; however, since joining NATO in 1999, Poland has been upgrading and modernizing its hardware to NATO standards. The General Staff has been reorganized into a NATO-compatible J/G-1 through J/G-6 structure. Recent modernization projects include the acquisition of (48) F-16 fighter jets from the United States, (256) Leopard 2 MBTs from Germany, ATGM technology from Israel (as well as possible future acquisition of Rafael Python 5 missiles), and (957) Patria AMV AFVs from Finland.History of the Polish Army
The Polish Army (Polish: Wojsko Polskie) is the name applied to the military forces of Poland. The name has been in use since the early 19th century, although it can be used to refer to earlier formations as well. Polish Armed Forces consist of the Army (Wojsko Lądowe), Navy (Marynarka) and Air Force (Lotnictwo) branches and are under the command of the Ministry of National Defense (Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej).List of aircraft of the Philippine Air Force
The following is a list of current and former aircraft and equipment of the Philippine Air Force.
The following is a list of current and former aircraft of the Philippine Air Force.List of military aircraft of the Czech Republic
The following list of military aircraft of the Czech Republic is a list of military aircraft and civil aircraft for military use currently in service with the Czech Air Force, the Czech Land Forces (unmanned aerial vehicles) and the Flight Training Center as well as retired aircraft.Mil Mi-2
The Mil Mi-2 (NATO reporting name Hoplite) is a small, lightly armed turbine-powered transport helicopter that could also provide close air support when armed with 57 mm rockets and a 23 mm cannon.Mil Mi-3
The Mil Mi-3 was a Soviet light-utility helicopter originally designed in the 1960s as a heavier and larger version of the Mil Mi-2 helicopter. It is also a Russian designation for the Polish-Soviet co-operation on larger helicopters based on the Mi-2 that could replace the Mi-4 from 1971. The project never passed the stage of design. Due to problems in this cooperation, the Poles decided to build a completely new helicopter on their own, designated as PZL W-3 Sokół.
Another helicopter designated Mil Mi-3 was improved Mil Mi-1 with four bladed main rotor.Military equipment of the Czech Republic
This is a list of military equipment of the Czech Republic currently in service and in storage. This includes weapons and equipment of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, with the Army of the Czech Republic and its service branches, namely the Czech Land Forces and Czech Air Force, at their core.Okada Air
Okada Air was an airline based in Benin City, Nigeria. The carrier was established in 1983 with a fleet of BAC-One Eleven 300s. and started charter operations in September the same year. In 1984, a Boeing 707-355C was acquired for cargo operations. By 1990, ten BAC One-Elevens were bought, and eight more were acquired in 1991. The company was granted the right of operating international flights in 1992.The owner of Okada Air was Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin. In 1997, the company was disestablished.PZL
PZL (Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze - State Aviation Works) was the main Polish aerospace manufacturer of the interwar period, and a brand of their aircraft. Based in Warsaw between 1928 and 1939, PZL introduced a variety of well-regarded aircraft, most notably the PZL P.11 fighter, the PZL.23 Karaś light bomber, and the PZL.37 Łoś medium bomber.
In the post-war era, aerospace factories in Poland were initially run under the name WSK (Transport Equipment Manufacturing Plant), but returned to adopt PZL acronym in late 1950s. This was used as a common aircraft brand and later as a part of names of several Polish state-owned aerospace manufacturers referring to PZL traditions, and belonging to the Zjednoczenie Przemysłu Lotniczego i Silnikowego PZL - PZL Aircraft and Engine Industry Union. Among the better-known products during this period is the PZL TS-11 Iskra jet trainer and PZL-104 Wilga STOL utility aircraft.
After the fall of communism in Poland in 1989, these manufacturers became separate companies, still sharing the PZL name. In the case of PZL Mielec, the abbreviation was later developed as Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze - Polish Aviation Works. Over time, most of the now-separate divisions were purchased by foreign concerns, and some continue to use PZL brand.PZL-Świdnik
PZL Świdnik S.A (Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego PZL-Świdnik S.A.) is the biggest helicopter manufacturer in Poland. Its main products are PZL W-3 Sokół and PZL SW-4 Puszczyk helicopters. In early 2010 the factory was acquired by AgustaWestland (since 2015 became part of Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s Helicopter Division).PZL Kania
The PZL Kania (Polish Kite, also marketed as Kitty Hawk) is a follow-up to the Mil Mi-2 helicopter, developed in Poland by PZL-Świdnik.Polish Air Force University
The Polish Air Force University (Polish: Wyższa Szkoła Oficerska Sił Powietrznych (1994-2018); Lotnicza Akademia Wojskowa (since 2018)) is located in Deblin, eastern Poland. The Air Force University is an accredited university for the undergraduate education of officers for the Polish Air Force. It was established in the interwar period in 1927. In 2009 academy started civilian program with four faculties: airplane pilot, aircraft maintenance, air traffic control and national security. In 2011 Department of National Safety and Logistics was created, giving the full range of aviation faculties to choose.Polish Land Forces
The Land Forces (Wojska Lądowe) are a military branch of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland. They currently contain some 65,000 active personnel and form many components of European Union and NATO deployments around the world. Poland's recorded military history stretches back for hundreds of years – since the 10th century (see List of Polish wars and History of the Polish Army), but Poland's modern army was formed after 1918.Sokol (disambiguation)
Sokol is a Pan-Slavic physical education movement, with origins in the Czech lands.
Sokol or Sokół may also refer to:
Sokół, Polish offshoot of the Czech movementTatrzańskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe
Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue (Polish: Tatrzańskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (TOPR)) is a non-profit mountain rescue organization in Poland, rescuing stranded mountain climbers, tourists, and others in need of rescue in the Polish Tatra mountains.
It is one of the oldest mountain rescue associations in the world.
Each potential rescuer is required to complete a special training course (lasting between 1.5 and 3 years), in which every volunteer is to exhibit excellent knowledge in Tatra topography as well as practical abilities including climbing, skiing, spelunking, lifesaving and first aid. After completing the training the rescuer takes an oath on the director's hand.
In 2011 TOPR consisted of around 250 members, 140 of whom had acquired permission to participate in rescue missions. The majority of the rescuers are volunteers; only 33 are professional rescuers.TOPR is one of the few organizations in the world that does not require a mountain insurance policy and does not charge payment for the rescue.W3
W3 or W-3 may refer to:
W3, a postcode district in the W postcode area
World Wide Web Consortium (w3.org), international standards organization for the World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or W3)
PZL W-3 Sokół, a Polish helicopter
The Amazing 3, a manga and anime series, known in Japan as Wonder 3
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, the 1961 edition of Webster's Dictionary
Arik Air, IATA code W3
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service form W-3, a transmittal form for W-2 information
4th step of the W0-W6 scale for the classification of meteorites by weatheringŚwidnik
Świdnik [ˈɕfʲidɲik] is a town in eastern Poland with 40,186 inhabitants (2012), situated in the Lublin Voivodeship, 10 kilometres (6 miles) southeast of the city of Lublin. It is the capital of Świdnik County. Świdnik belongs to the historic province of Lesser Poland, and was first mentioned in historical records in the year 1392. It remained a village until the end of the 19th century when it began to develop as a spa, due to the good location and climate.
In the early Middle Ages, the area of Świdnik was under the authority of a castellan from nearby Lublin. In the location of the current city three villages existed: Adampol, Świdnik and Krępiec (the name of the city itself was later taken from the village which was located in the immediate vicinity of the PZL Świdnik factory).
Świdnik due to its location has to be considered as Satellite town of Lublin, town hosts industrial and advanced technology companies. It is a part of Lublin Agglomeration, extending its business-oriented capabilities.
There are other villages named Świdnik in Poland, as well as Svidnik, a town in Slovakia.