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The W-3 Sokol (Falcon) multi-purpose combat helicopter is manufactured by PZL-Świdnik, an AgustaWestland company. The W-3 military version was designed to deliver combat support for the armed forces. It can destroy fixed and moving armoured targets as well as hostile troops.
The design of the W-3 Sokol combat helicopter was based on the inputs from the Polish Air Brigade’s combat operations in Iraq. The development was complemented by the Polish Armed Forces and the Polish defence industry.
W-3 Sokol is also offered in transport, cargo-lifter, police, VIP, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), emergency medical services (EMS), SAR-mountain, and SAR-sea variants.
The helicopter received type certificates from the Aviation Authorities of Poland, Russia, US, Germany and Spain according to the FAR Part 29 airworthiness standards.
W-3 Sokol orders and deliveries
W-3 Sokol combat helicopters have been delivered to the Polish Air Force, Polish Army, Polish Navy, Czech Air Force, Philippine Air Force and Myanmar Air Force.
In January 2012, the Polish Ministry of National Defence signed a contract with PZL-Świdnik for the supply of five W-3WA Sokol VIP transport helicopters. The contract also covers the upgrade of 14 other helicopters of the Polish Armed Forces.
The Philippine Air Force placed an order with PZL-Świdnik for eight W-3 Sokol helicopters in June 2010. The first batch of four helicopters was delivered in February 2012. Two more helicopters were handed over in November 2012. Deliveries of the remaining helicopters will conclude by early 2013.
W-3 Sokol design
W-3 Sokol incorporates a conventional design based on the pod and boom layout. The fuselage is of Duralumin construction, while rotor blades and stabiliser are made of laminated glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP).
The helicopter can house two crew and up to 12 passengers. Both sides of the flight deck has a door with a bulged window. Two large sliding doors, one at the forward end of cabin on the port side and another at the rear of cabin on the starboard side, allow the loading and unloading of cargo and passengers.
The helicopter is fitted with a wide range of equipment and systems such as a rescue hoist, cargo hook, engine air particle separator (EAPS) system, rappelling system and a wire strike protection system.
Sokol has a length of 18.79m, width of 1.75m and a height of 4.2m. The diameter of the main rotor is 15.7m. The helicopter can carry a maximum useful load of 2,550kg.
W-3 Sokol cockpit and avionics
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The cockpit can accommodate two crew members, including a pilot and co-pilot or flight engineer. The night vision goggle (NVG)-compatible cockpit is equipped with Bendix/King avionics suite integrating multifunction displays, head-up display (HUD) and a four-axis autopilot system.
The navigation and communications systems include a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, Chrom IFF transponder, laser range finder, inertial navigation system / global positioning system (INS/GPS), digital map, tactical air navigation system, VHF omni-directional radio range (VOR), and instrument landing system (ILS).
W-3 Sokol armament
W-3 combat helicopters are armed with starboard-mounted GSh-23 23mm double-barrelled aircraft gun, a 12.7mm turret machine gun, Mars-2 rocket launchers, ZR-8 sub-munition dispensers and Platan mine laying systems.
W-3 Sokol engines
W-3 Sokol is powered by two WSK PZL-Rzeszow PZL-10W turboshaft engines. Each engine delivers a maximum take-off power of 662kW and maximum continuous power for 574kW. The Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system monitors and controls the operating parameters of the engines.
The power plant also integrates an advanced electronic fuel control system.
The Sokol is equipped with non-retractable tricycle type landing gear system. The system consists of twin-wheel self-centring nose unit and two single-wheel main units. Each unit is equipped with oleo-pneumatic shock-absorber. The main wheel units are fitted with pneumatic disc brakes.
Performance of W-3 Sokol
The W-3 Sokol can fly at a maximum altitude of 4,520m. It can climb at a rate of 8.5m/sec. The helicopter has a maximum cruise speed of 235km/h, while the auxiliary fuel tank fitted to the Sokol provides a maximum range of 1,180km. The helicopter has a maximum endurance of over four hours.
The Global Military Aircraft Market 2011-2021
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