“We have a helicopter that is not working as it should.”, said General Eirik Kristoffersen, who heads the Norwegian army. Exceeded by delivery delays and availability problems, Norway announced on Friday 10 June the cancellation of a contract for 14 NH90 military transport helicopters with the European industrial consortium NH Industries (NHI), which is headquartered in Norway. in Aix-en-Provence.
Despite an order placed more than twenty years ago, Oslo said it had received only eight fully operational copies of the 62.5% NHI-owned aircraft owned by Airbus Helicopters, 32% by Italian Leonardo and 5.5% by the Dutch Fokker Aerostructures. The Norwegian government will return the 13 helicopters already delivered and is also demanding reimbursement of 5 billion kroner (about 500 million euros), he said in a statement. press conference.
“Unfortunately, we have come to the conclusion that, regardless of the number of hours worked by our technicians and the number of spare parts ordered, this will not make the NH90 able to meet the needs of the Norwegian military.”, said Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram. His ministry will begin “Quickly” a process to identify an alternative model, the government said in a statement.
This cancellation is a new setback for the NH90 following the early retirement of the model in the Australian Army, announced in December 2021, in favor of the Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk.
In addition to delivery delays – the order initially provided for the delivery of the 14 copies in 2008 – the Norwegian military has reported problems with reliability, maintenance and obsolescence of the parts.
The Norwegian military expected an annual flight time of 3,900 hours, but in reality it was capped at 700, according to the ministry. The Norwegian NH90s were intended for coastguard and underwater combat missions.
In a press releaseNHI wrote that the decision of the Norwegian government to cancel this contract was “Without legal basis” and claimed to be “Extremely disappointed”.