For years, the NH90 helicopter has only made negative headlines. Norway’s government has now burst its collar: it wants to return the defective helicopters. The Airbus subsidiary NHI should return the money paid to the Norwegians and pay for further costs.
It is almost common practice that complex armor systems do not work as promised when they are purchased. Most of the time, buyers engage in endless and expensive fixes and celebrate each milestone that brings the system closer to the state that was originally ordered. For example with the military transporter A400M from Airbus.
Norway obviously doesn’t want to play this game anymore. The country announced that it would withdraw from the contract for the NH90 military helicopter. It was supplied by the Airbus subsidiary NATO Helicopter Industries (NHI). And it gets even worse: Oslo wants to return the helicopter and all the material and get his money back for it. The Norwegian government is thus ending the long suffering of the junk helicopter.
end of a long suffering
“Regrettably, we have come to the conclusion that no matter how many hours our technicians work and how many parts we order, the NH90 will never be able to meet the needs of the Norwegian Armed Forces,” Defense Minister Bjørn Arild said in a statement grief “Thus, based on a joint recommendation by the armed forces and the ministries and agencies involved, the Norwegian government has decided to end the deployment of the NH90 and authorized the Norwegian Defense Material Agency to terminate the contract.”
Norway is demanding that the 490 million euros already paid be reimbursed, plus interest and other costs that Norway incurred from the deal. “More than 20 years after signing the contract, we still do not have helicopters capable of performing the tasks for which they were purchased and without having been able to present us with realistic solutions,” said Gro Jære, Director General of the Norwegian Defense Material Authority.
14 years behind schedule
In fact, 14 helicopters for coast guard and anti-submarine warfare were supposed to be delivered in 2008. Only eight operational helicopters could be delivered by 2022, the delivery of the others was postponed to 2024. Because of the confidentiality of the contracts, the Norwegian government does not comment in detail on the problems. However, it is known that a good number of the electronic components, especially those for combating submarines, are now outdated. In addition, the delivered NH90 are vulnerable, of the eight helicopters is usually only one – if at all – operational.
Other states are also complaining about the NH90. The Flugrevue reports, for example, that the German Navy had to refuse acceptance of a new helicopter a few days ago. A faulty radar is said to have been installed in the newly delivered machine, and the cabin smelled of fuel, so that leaks were suspected.
As expected, the Airbus subsidiary NHI rejected the Norwegian complaints and the termination of the contract.