September 6, 2007:
Polish firm PZL is offering a
combat version of its W3 transport helicopter. The W-3PL has a radar, HUD (head
up display), anti-missile system (detectors and flare dispensers) and is armed
with a 12.7mm machine-gun turret under the nose, There are winglets for
carrying rockets and missiles. The six ton W3 was originally developed in
Poland in the 1970s and was sold to
other East European nations, as a competitor to the Russian Mi-8. When
the Cold War ended, the W-3 was upgraded and certified to operate in Western
countries. The W3PL is considered a "battle support" helicopter, not a gunship.
It has an armored floor, but is otherwise not as robust as choppers
specifically built as gunships.