Agreement is close on a $500 million co-production deal for the supply of 30 SAR/CSAR Cougar utility helicopters made by Franco-German manufacturer Eurocopter, according to industry sources. Eurocopter has been negotiating for the contract since June 1995. The most critical part of the negotiations has been the desire of the defence industry undersecretariat (SSM) to see a larger local content portion than the 20 per cent that was offered by Eurocopter, the sources say.

Eurocopter has proposed that Ankarabased Turkish Aerospace Industries (TM) should be prime sub-contractor for airframes from development phase to delivery. Another local company, TEI, would manufacture, assemble and test engine parts, while other local companies involved would be electronics manufacturer Aselsan, telecommunications joint venture Netas, and Hema. The Eurocopter proposal also includes offset commitments of around 50 per cent for imported parts.

On 23 May, Eurocopter also delivered the final pair of an earlier, direct purchase of 20 Cougars costing a total of $253 million.