Paul Derby

An emerging helicopter requirement in the Nordic region of Europe which might call for as many as 80 aircraft is set to spark the next scramble for orders among the world's manufacturers.

Finland is looking to buy an unspecified number of tactical troop transport helicopters and is expected to issue a request for proposals early in 1999.

But the governments of four countries - Norway, Sweden Finland and Denmark - could up the stakes for potential suppliers by issuing a joint requirement for a much larger number of machines.

Analysts say the governments of the four countries have a desire to work closely on any potential deals, taking advantage of both the lower unit cost of buying more machines and commonality benefits.

It is unclear whether they will opt for a single size of aircraft or will go for more than one type of machine.


Norway is already in the process of upgrading its fleet of GKN Westland Lynx to Super Lynx 100 standard as part of an agreement with GKN.

Sweden has a known anti-submarine warfare requirement and might also be looking for a helicopter designed for troop transport and search and rescue (SAR) missions. Both Denmark and Sweden are showing interest in an enhanced SAR capability.

Westland spokesman Chris Loney says: "We believe that the total requirement for all four countries could be for up to 80 helicopters.

"Our goal is to stress the versatility of the EH-101 which from the baseline model can be modified quickly and easily to suit a wide range of requirements."

The EH-101 is likely to come up against stiff competition from the NH90 medium lift helicopter and Sikorsky's S-92 Helibus among others.

Source: Flight Daily News