Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o. o. owned by Lockheed Martin, is one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Poland and the largest Lockheed Martin production facility outside the United States. For over 85 years, the Mielec facility has been designing, manufacturing and servicing aircraft and helicopters.
On March 16, 2007, the United Technologies Holdings (UTH), a United Technologies Corporation (UTC) company purchased 100% shares of Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze from the Industrial Development Agency (ARP). As part of UTC, Sikorsky, a global leader in helicopter production, started direct cooperation with PZL Mielec.
In 2015, Sikorsky and PZL Mielec were acquired by Lockheed Martin headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company. The company employs 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, production, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
PZL Mielec has a fully functional airframe production facility, a final assembly production line, a completion center and a flight operations center. At PZL Mielec, the production process begins at the level of the smallest components, through sub-assembly and final assembly to flight testing and customer acceptance phase. We also provide on-site and customer after-sales service.
Currently the Company employs over 1520 people, including experienced engineering/design staff and highly qualified workforce, recognized internationally, especially for high quality and timely deliveries. It is also worth noting that PZL Mielec provides an additional 5000 jobs in the supply chain, and our network of domestic suppliers totals 1233 entities.
Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze is one of the largest employers in Podkarpacie. It is "The Company of Podkarpacie of 20 years of 21st century" according to the ranking of "The Golden Hundred Companies of Podkarpacie" and the prizewinner of "The Top Employers of Eastern Poland".
The flagship products of PZL Mielec are the Black Hawk multi-role helicopter and the M28 utility aircraft in commercial and military versions.
In PZL Mielec we also produce aircraft structures such as cones, pylons and cabins for UH-60M helicopters. So far we have delivered over 650 cabins and 560 pylons. Starting in 2022, the Company's portfolio has been enriched by the production of major components for the global F-16 Block 70/72 program such as rear fuselage, center fuselage, cockpit structure, cockpit side panels and forward equipment bay. The components will be transferred to Lockheed Martin's final assembly line in Greenville, South Carolina.
In addition, PZL Mielec provides a wide range of aerospace cooperative services such as designing, testing and research, composite fabrication, plastic forming, special processes, production tooling and aircraft painting in accordance with global VIP painting quality standards.
One of the company's top priorities is occupational health and safety and concern for the natural environment. For meeting high EH&S standards, the Company was awarded the Green Card of Polish Leader of Safe Work.
An important element in the functioning of PZL Mielec is prosocial activity. The Company is involved in a number of educational initiatives for children, preventive healthcare and active promotion of culture and aviation heritage. For years, it has continued its good traditions of supporting schools, universities, social and charitable organizations, veterans and clubs of model-makers.
The beginnings of aircraft industry in Mielec date back to the twenty-year inter-war period, when in 1938, the State Aviation Works - Airframe Factory No. 2 was established. In March 1939, the assembly of the PZL-37 “Łoś” bombers started. The Mielec “Łoś” was flown on July 4, 1939. At that time the factory employed 700 people.
During WW II the Nazis incorporated the factory into E. Heinkel aircraft plant under the name Flugzeugwerk Mielec (FWM) and continued production and service of bombers. In 1944, the plant employed 5500 people. The plant was taken over by the Red Army on August 6, 1944. Overhauls of aircraft and production of components were continued.
On July 22, 1945 the plant returned under Polish control and was renamed as State Aviation Works (PZL) Production Plant No. 1 in Mielec. Repairs of military and civil aircraft were being done. In 1945, a prototype of a trainer - liaison airplane PZL S-1 was produced and in 1948, a series of 10 tourist/executive plane “Szpak 4T” was released. Between 1945 and 1948, the plant made scales, aluminum dishes, cars and refrigerators. In 1946, 800 people were employed, and by 1949 the employment had increased to 1160.
In 1949, the plant was renamed as the Transport Equipment Manufacturing Center (in Polish abbr. WSK) Plant No. 1 in Mielec, and its main area of activity became the licensed production of MiG-15 jet fighter, designated Lim-1. The first Lim-1 was flown in 1952. Further versions of the aircraft were produced in the following years. In the mid-50s of the last century, the Mielec plant built development versions of Lim-5 and prototypes of its own design: S-3 Kania, M-2, M-4 Tarpan and M-3 Pliszka glider. In 1953, the employment increased to 2600 people.
In 1960, series production of An-2 utility aircraft started. Between 1960 and 2002 in Mielec were built nearly 12 thousand airplanes of this type, in various versions: agricultural An-2R (7880 units), cargo/passenger An-2TP (1640 units), cargo An-2T (1344 units), passenger An-2P (816 units), seaplane An-2M (154 units), cargo/paratrooper An-2TD (52 units) and executive An-2P Lux (44 units).
In 1970, the factory’s name was changed into Delta-Mielec and in 1975, the name was changed back into PZL Mielec. In the 1970s, the M15 Belfegor and M18 Dromader agricultural planes were built, and in 1984, the production of the An-28 transport airplane started. Its successors are the M28 Skytruck and M28B Bryza.
For almost half a century, the Mielec plant was a manufacturer of airplanes sold mainly to the communist countries (former USSR, Hungary, former Yugoslavia, Cuba, Vietnam, China), while in the last three decades the Company has become known on the markets worldwide.
The existing Company - Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. was established on October 19, 1998. Already in May 1999, the plant received a JAR-21 certification to produce aircraft and related spare parts. The factory obtained rights for the production of M18 Dromader, M20 Mewa, M26 Iskierka, M28, maintenance of A-28 and An-2 aircraft and production of aircraft parts. In July of the same year, the Company received a General Inspectorate of Civil Aviation certificate authorizing the design, backfit and construction of aircraft.
During the International Defense Industry Exhibition - in 2000 in Kielce, the Mielec Company received the 1st Award of the Minister of Economy for the best export performance in 1999 as well as the "Defender" award to the manufacturer of the best equipment for national defense and security - for the M28B Bryza, which was then used by the Polish Navy.
In 1998, the plant employed 1200 people and at the turn of 2005 and 2006, the working crew was already 1400 people. The production of M28, M28B Bryza, M18 Dromader and M26 Iskierka aircraft continued. Their main buyers were the countries of North and South America, countries of the Mediterranean basin and Asian countries. In Poland, the Bryza and Dromader enjoyed the best reputation.
The accumulated order portfolio brought about the necessity to significantly increase production capacity. Lack of own funds for necessary investments was a barrier to achieving the set goals. The Company needed fast reinvestment in order to maintain its production capacity. Therefore, intensive efforts were undertaken to find a strategic partner. The choice of such a partner was supposed to bring measurable benefits, such as: funds for investments, additional workplaces, access to global sales markets, the inflow of modern, advanced technology, financial and economic stabilization, credible and established position in the circle of aviation companies.
As a result, the United Technologies Holding, a company operating within the United Technologies Corporation, signed an agreement to acquire from the Industrial Development Agency (ARP), 100% of shares of Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. The sales agreement was finalized on March 16, 2007 and the news was officially announced on March 21, 2007. These were milestone dates in the history of Mielec aviation industry. As part of the UTC corporation, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a UTC group company, started direct cooperation with PZL Mielec.
Simultaneously with privatization, work on launching production of the first components for the BLACK HAWK helicopter began. In March 2009, the UH-60 BLACK HAWK cockpit, made in Mielec, was officially presented. Just a year later, the prototype S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter was ready for flight tests. On March 15 of this year, the first demonstration of the helicopter took place at Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze in Mielec, and on July 1, it was flown for the first time at the Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The trials were successful and already on July 20, the first contract for S-70i helicopters was signed. The buyer of the first 3 units was Saudi Arabia.
On July 20, 2015 UTC together with Lockheed Martin announced the sale of Sikorsky. The merger of Sikorsky with Lockheed Martin was a strategic step that fundamentally increased the capabilities and market opportunities of both companies. The process of integrating PZL Mielec as part of Sikorsky, was officially completed on November 6, 2015.
A total of more than 15,500 aircraft came off the production lines of the Mielec plant.