First mentioned in a papal bull in 1229. In 1457 it obtained its city charter. Mielec became part of the Austrian empire in 1772, in which it remained until Poland regained its independence in 1918. The town had a significant Jewish community, which perished in the Holocaust carried out by the occupying Nazi German forces in the course of World War II.
The town's economy has been centered for the last 70 years around a single industrial enterprise, which transformed the town and increased its population sixfold. This process began in the 1930s, when Poland launched a significant expansion of its armaments industry, focused on building plants in the newly created Central Industrial Region. As part of this effort, in the years 1937-1939 a large aviation factory of the PZL company was set up in the town. It developed further after 1945 into the largest aviation factory in Poland under the name WSK-Mielec (Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego; in English, Transport Equipment Manufacturing Centre).
At first, the factory produced Soviet-designed planes under license. Thus it was the primary production site of the widely used An-2 transport plane. It also manufactured Polish versions of the MiG-15 and MiG-17 fighters. The factory also built planes designed in Poland such as the trainer plane TS-11 Iskra used by Poland and India. In 1998 the company changed its name to PZL-Mielec (Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze, in English Polish Aviation Works). After 1989 and the economic changes due to the fall of communism, the factory orders declined and it has encountered serious financial difficulties. It continued to produce successful aircraft types, but at much lower volumes than during the Cold War. In 2007 the factory has been acquired by Sikorsky and will be the main production site of the export version UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
Mielec is twinned with
AMBASSADOR HOSTS RECEPTION FOR SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF SIKORSKY'S OWNERSHIP OF POLISH AVIATION FACTORY IN MIELEC AS IT ROLLS OUT FIRST BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER CABIN
Jul 10, 2009; WARSAW, Poland, March 13 -- The U.S. Embassy issued following press release: On March 12, the Polish Aviation Factory (Polskie...