March 6, 2000
Turkey Mulls Attack Helicopter Bids
ISTANBUL, Turkey ( AP ) -
Turkey narrowed its list of possible sources for a $4 billion purchase of 145 military helicopters to three companies - the United States' Bell Helicopter-Textron, Italy's Agusta, and a Russian-Israeli joint venture. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Boeing's Apache helicopter and the Tiger built by the Franco-German consortium Eurocopter were eliminated from the bid.
The government was expected to announce Monday the winner of the bid, but Ecevit said the government would further review the three remaining proposals.
He said an announcement would soon be made, but gave no date.
Bell Helicopter-Textron is proposing its King Cobra, Agusta has offered to build the Mangusta, while the Russian-Israeli joint venture bid with its Kamov Ka 50/2 Erdogan.
Turkey has U.S.-made Cobra helicopters, which played a key role in battling Kurdish rebels, who have been fighting a 15-year war for autonomy in the mountainous southeast.
Boeing, Eurocopter out of Turk copter tender
ANKARA,Turkey ( Reuters ) - Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Monday the French-German Eurocopter consortium and Boeing had been eliminated from a tender to build 145 attack helicopters for Turkey's armed forces. ``Eurocopter and Boeing have been eliminated from the tender because the information they provided was found to be unsatisfactory,'' Ecevit told reporters.
Three consortiums led by Italy's Agusta , Bell Helicopter Textron of the United States and Kamov-A of Russia are left in the $4.5 billion tender.
Eurocopter is a joint venture between Aerospatiale Matra and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) . Along with Spain's CASA, they are merging to form the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company (EADS).
Military analysts say the helicopters are the most effective weapon against Kurdish rebels fighting in the remote mountains of Turkey's rugged southeast, but the defence minister has said the aircraft were also needed to face foreign security threats.
The U.S. congress has vetoed previous attempts by Turkey to add to its fleet of nine Bell Super Cobra strike helicopters, saying they would be used for internal oppression.
A bidding company official said the decision to eliminate the two bidders was unlikely to be political as there were solid commercial reasons why the two bids were unsuccessful.
``Confidence in the Eurocopter bid was hit by a crash of a prototype in Australia in 1998,'' he said. ``Also they would not be ready to go into production until 2005 when Turkey wants it to start in 2003.''
``Boeing's Apache is really a very good helicopter,'' said the source who declined to be named. ``But cost was a problem, it being some two-and-a-half times more expensive than the others. It also had problem with delivery times.''
Ecevit said he anticipated no problem with financing of the deal at the defence
``We saw that the undersecretariat has the ability to find the majority of financing from within its own resources. There will be no problem in that respect,'' he said.
Turkey wants to co-produce the chosen helicopter in a factory near the capital Ankara which until recently made F-16 fighter jets. The extent of domestic production is one of the factors being taken into consideration in deciding the contract.
The contract is to be awarded in three stages with 45 helicopters being built in the first stage and 50 each in the second and third stages of production.
Turkey is also seeking 1,000 main battle tanks by 2013 to replace its ageing inventory under a deal worth $8 billion. Last month the defence minister said the first deal, for 250 tanks worth $1.5 billion, would be concluded by the end of July.
Eurocopter Tiger page
Boeing AH-64 Apache page
Agusta A.129 Mangusta
Bell timeline page ( Cobra )
Kamov timeline page ( Ka-50 )
Evolution of Gunships