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Norway scraps helicopter deal – wants billions

The contract with the NH90 helicopter supplier has been terminated and the helicopters retired with immediate effect, Defense Minister Björn Arild Gramm said at a press conference on Friday.

We have now made a comprehensive assessment of whether real operational benefit from NH90 can be obtained by implementing further actions from the defense sector. Bjorn Arild Gram says the result was negative.

‘Lacks important equipment’

Head of Defense Materiel, Gro Jære, highlights four reasons for contract termination: delays, the number of errors regarding flight hours far exceeding expected time-consuming maintenance and delays in delivery that some systems have run out of production.

– The result of these four conditions is that we have fewer helicopters today than we had. The planes we have fly very little, and many of them lack critical equipment. In addition, we don’t have a plan from the supplier that we’re confident would solve the problems, Gro Jære says at the press conference.

We then unfortunately end up in a situation where termination of the contract is the only defensible alternative.

The Norwegian state is demanding the return of the five billion Norwegian kroner, which has so far been paid for the helicopters.

“Very disappointed”

NH Industries considers the termination of the agreement to be legally groundless.

“NH Industries is deeply disappointed with the decision of the Norwegian Ministry of Defense and rejects the charges against NH90 and the company,” the company wrote in a statement.

In 2001, the Ministry of Defense decided to purchase 14 NH90 helicopters from the company. It was to be used for the Norwegian Coast Guard and Navy and deliveries were scheduled between 2005 and 2008 but it was too late.

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In 2018, the defense received only eight of them, six of which can only be used for training. At the beginning of 2022, one of the 14 required helicopters was still missing.