Two agreements valued at a total of $542 million for the supply of helicopters to the Defence Ministry were signed in Ankara on 13 February. The larger, valued at $430 million, was signed with Franco-German manufacturer Eurocopter for a second batch of 30 AS-532 Cougar transport helicopters (MEED 7:6:96).
The Eurocopter contract for the defence industries undersecretariat is for completion in 2002. Of the overall 30 aircraft, 10 will be for general purposes, 16 will be equipped for search and rescue missions, and four for armed search and rescue missions.
Following the initial delivery of two Cougars in July 1999, the remaining 28 will be produced with a 30 per cent local content at the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) complex at Murted, near Ankara. The package provides for a 50 per cent offset programme, and will also include testing, delivery and spare parts manufacture.
When the contract is complete, Eurocopter will have supplied 50 Cougar aircraft to the Defence Ministry. Eurocopter signed a $253 million contract in 1993 for the direct supply of 20 Cougars (MEED 22:10:93).
The second contract, of $112 million, was signed with the US' Sikorsky Aircraft for the direct supply of four Sea Hawk helicopters, the first for delivery in
33 months. The aircraft will be used for anti-submarine and anti-ship defence and surveillance, and will be able to operate off MEKO 200 frigates already in service with the navy.