The government has decided to suspend and gradually suspend the contract for NH90 helicopters ordered 20 years ago.
This was confirmed by Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram (SP) at a press conference on Friday.
Ministry of Defense, Safety equipment And the Armed Forces on the way forward for military helicopters.
– We have made a thorough assessment of whether the actual operational benefit of NH90 can be achieved by implementing additional measures by the Department of Defense. The result is negative.
Gram says the government has decided to suspend the deal with a preemptive effect after a thorough assessment of operations, finance and legislation.
– Operating costs with NH90 are very high, somewhat higher than contracted, as a result of the error rate. From a lifetime perspective, Gram says investing in an alternative helicopter capability would be cheaper than the NH90.
The investigation begins
Security officials will begin a study to find the best solution for maritime helicopters.
It usually takes at least five years to place a replacement helicopter. But the government says it is doing everything it can to speed this up. It is good to work with close associates. The government will also consider renting helicopters.
The Coast Guard will be preferred first because they will have new ships by the end of the year. The government is also considering temporarily managing the rescue helicopter service to make up for the shortage of helicopters in the Coast Guard.
20 years extra time
Former Secretary of Defense Frank Bake-Jensen (H) has described the purchase of helicopters as a “disaster plan”.
In 2001, Norway ordered 14 NH90 military helicopters. They are to be used on Coast Guard ships and warships in the Norwegian Navy.
The first helicopter was due in 2005. By 2008 everyone should be in that place. But it was not until 2011 that the first NH90 arrived in Norway.
Only in 2017 did the first of them reach full operational capacity. As of February this year, there were only six helicopters in the “preliminary version”. The Armed Forces estimates that not all helicopters will be fully operational by 2025.
Little confidence in the supplier
– We hear that they could be upgraded in 2023, perhaps in 2024, said then-Defense Minister Ot Roger Enoxsen (SP) in February.
Enochsen considered terminating the deal with the NH90 helicopters.
– The truth is, we have no confidence in supplier NHIndustries now, he said.
He therefore asked the Ministry of Defense to resume the search for maritime helicopters for the Armed Forces. Postposton.
Torbjorn Bongo, president of the Norwegian Officers and Experts Association, said in February. There was skepticism about terminating the contract On the NH90 helicopter.
He told the NRK that the problems with the Italian helicopter type were not limited to the supplier. Coordination between all companies in the defense sector has created problems in operating helicopters, he said.
Consideration was given to terminating the contract
Norway considered the agreement before 2008, including terminating it. But NTB writes that it has been estimated how much it will cost to terminate the contract.
Since a helicopter is still missing, the contract should be reconsidered to break, Enoxsen said in February.
– Termination of contract will not be easy or free. But it is also an expression of the end of patience.
Not followed enough
According to a study conducted by the Office of the Auditor General in 2018, the Armed Forces should accept its responsibility.
“Much of the responsibility for the delays rests with the supplier, but not with the Ministry of Defense, Defense Supplies and the Armed Forces The Office of the Auditor General wrote:
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