AgustaWestland lands Lynx deal

25 January 2002

Europe's AgustaWestlandhas sealed a contract to supply the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) with 16 Superlynx helicopters. The deal was signed on 20 January by a delegation from AgustaWestland and Defence Minister Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Hareb al-Busaidi.

Superlynx is one of the fastest and most adaptable helicopters in the world capable of fulfilling a wide range of search and rescue, reconnaissance and maritime attack operations. Its book price is $32 million indicating that the total value of the deal could be as high as $500 million. Neither Westland nor RAFO have disclosed details of the total value of the deal.

AgustaWestland was formed in 2000, when Agusta - a subsidiary of Italy's Finmeccanica- joined forces with Westland Helicopters - part of GKN of the UK. The company has a civil and defence order book of around $8,000 million. It signed last November an agreement with Qatar Helicoptersto set up a local maintenance and assembly plant in the Gulf (MEED 23:11:01).

The RAFO is in the process of upgrading its operational capability. Last year, it began to replace its ageing fleet of SEPECAT Jaguar strike attack aircraft with F-16 aircraft from Lockheed Martin Corporationof the US.

Details of the deal are still to be finalised but the RAFO is understood to be reviewing an option to purchase up to 16 aircraft of either Block 40, Block 50 or Block 60 type. Industry sources say the sultanate is also looking at the Gripen fighter produced by Saab/BAE Systemsto replace its Hawk aircraft (MEED 28:12:01).

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