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This article first appeared in AWIN First.
The German government and Eurocopter have come to an agreement on the number of Tiger and NH90 helicopters to be purchased for the German armed forces.
Months of negotiations between the two parties came to an end March 15, with the signing of an agreement to purchase a reduced number of helicopters. As part of the deal, Germany will now buy 82 NH90s rather than 122 originally planned, while the number of EC665 Tiger UHT attack helicopters will fall to 57 from 80.
As part of the deal, the German navy will get 18 NH90s, which will meet the requirement of replacing the navy’s aging fleet of Westland-built Sea Kings and Lynx. As part of the deal, an agreement also was signed for supporting the two aircraft types.
The negotiations started when the German government announced a major downsizing of the armed forces in 2011, which included a significant reduction in purchase plans for NH90s and Tigers. The deal for the navy NH90s is significant as it ends a planned competition for the naval helicopter in which the NH90 would have competed with the Sikorsky H-92 Cyclone and the AgustaWestland AW101. The navy had originally required 30 aircraft.
In a statement, the German defense ministry, says: “Germany had already participated in international agreements in the NH90 program in the development costs of the NATO naval helicopter. The adapted procurement planning with 18 navy helicopters also strengthens the European and international cooperation capacity in Germany in this strategically important helicopter segment.”
The statement adds: “The new agreement for UHT and NH90 also aims to avoid negative impact on the other nations represented in the programs.”
As part of the 2011 cuts, all the tactical transport NH90s will go to the German army to operate alongside the Tigers, while the army will see its CH-53G Stallions transferred to the air force.
Germany has now deployed its Tigers to Afghanistan where they will provide air support for coalition troops working in the north of the country. Germany also will soon send its first NH90s in country for medevac use, replacing the U.S. Army’s “Dust-off” Black Hawks currently serving in that role. The aircraft are expected to arrive in April.
In a statement, Eurocopter says: “We took a tough stance in our negotiations, but our discussions were most constructive. The outcome is a clear win-win situation for both parties, and provides those involved with a resilient and sustainable solution for the future.”