Genel Maksat Helikopteri İhalesi

Genel maksat helikopteri ihalesi ile ilgili DefenseNews'da çıkan haber-analiz.. İhalenin iki önde gelen adayından (S-70 ve NH-90), Black Hawk daha avantajlı olarak değerlendirilmiş..

Firms Eye New Turk Contest

Ankara Seeks 32 Utility Copters for $500M


Turkish procurement officials said they will open international bidding this fall to buy a batch of 32 utility helicopters, worth around $500 million, to meet the military’s new requirements.

Some European and U.S. helicopter manufacturers likely will compete in a fresh Turkish contract contest as Turkey’s procurement authorities busy themselves with final touches on competition rules.

They said 20 of the new helicopters will go to the Army, and the Air Force and Navy will get six each.

“We are giving the final touches on tender specifications for the new utility helicopter program,” said one procurement official. “We’ll likely invite bids this fall, and we hope there will be genuine competition among leading foreign manufacturers.”

Single Model To Be Selected

The same official said at the end of the competition that one single helicopter model will be selected for all three services. “The Army, the Air Force and the Navy will not be able to choose different platforms,” he said. “The winner will take all.”

Industry sources and analysts expect competition between two major contenders: U.S. manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Conn., maker of the S-70 Black Hawk; and NH Industries, Aix-en-Provence, France, maker of the NH90.

NH Industries is the prime contractor for design, development, production and logistical support for all variants of the NH90. The Franco-German company Eurocopter, Paris, is the majority shareholder in NH Industries, with 62.5 percent of its shares. Italy’s Agusta, Cascina Costa, holds 32 percent, and Netherlands-based Stork Fokker has 5.5 percent.

The NH90 is a twin-engine, medium-sized utility helicopter with a single main rotor.

Sikorsky has sold more than 100 Black Hawks to the Turkish Armed Forces, and Eurocopter supplied 20 Cougar transport helicopters to the Air Force in the 1990s.

“The Army is happy about the S-70’s performance and is expected to push for the Black Hawk,” said one Washington-based defense analyst who asked not to be named. “The Air Force also may agree to this option. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the S-70 is selected for the whole deal at the end of the day.”

Procurement officials in Ankara said Sikorsky, in an effort to strengthen its bid, has proposed to move its entire Black Hawk production line to Turkey. “This is an attractive proposal,” the same official said. “It will certainly be taken into consideration during the bidding process.”

Two Price Categories

Another analyst said the NH90 is a better but more expensive option, yet attractive. “The NH90 is an upper-class platform, and therefore substantially more expensive,” the Ankara-based analyst said. “Turkey will have to choose between two different categories — and prices.”

Sikorsky won a $450 million deal against Eurocopter to sell 45 Black Hawks to the Army in 1992. Two years later, Eurocopter won a nearly $250 million contract to jointly produce 20 Cougars for the Air Force with Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI), Ankara, best known for its co-production of F-16 fighter jets with U.S. company Lockheed Martin in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The Turkish Army purchased a second batch of 50 Black Hawks under a 1999 agreement with Sikorsky worth nearly $500 million. In the early 1990s, Turkey also bought 19 Mi-17 utility helicopters from Russia. The Turkish Armed Forces also operates more than 100 older UH-1 Huey helicopters manufactured by U.S. company Bell Helicopter Textron.

Utility helicopters are among the stronger points of the Turkish Army. Cevik Bir, a retired general and former deputy chief of the Turkish General Staff, said in 1998 that the Turkish Land Forces was among a few armies in the world that could deploy overnight a brigade-sized unit considerable distances.

The new utility helicopter program comes at a time when Turkey is involved in two other ambitious helicopter deals. In a multibillion-dollar program to buy up to 50 attack helicopters, the country’s procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, is awaiting bids from several foreign contenders by mid-September.

Turkey also has decided to buy 12 S-70B Seahawk naval helicopters from Sikorsky for about $390 million, but the deal hinges on the reactivation of an earlier loan by the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

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