Three of the four contenders in the Nordic Standard Helicopter Programme (NSHP) have been given dates to discuss proposals to meet the requirement.

The programme office, meanwhile, is seeking approval from the four nations involved to slip the selection of a winner from November into the first half of next year.

Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are seeking between 50 and 100 helicopters of a common type for search and rescue, and troop transport, as well as for ship- and land-based maritime roles.

Earlier this year, EH Industries with the EH101, Eurocopter with the Cougar, NH Industries with the NH90, and Sikorsky with the S-92, responded to a request for quotations. The Cougar has been eliminated, says Eurocopter.

Industry sources say the programme office will hold talks with NHI next month, with Sikorsky in November and EHI in the early part of next year.

Maj Gen Curt Westberg, NSHP programme director, says a steering committee decision will be taken by the end of next month on whether the selection can be delayed until next year.

Industry sources say there continues to be concern within the programme that all the requirements can be met with a single type. Norway's principal requirement is for an AgustaWestland Lynx replacement, and the helicopter must be small enough to operate from Norway's corvettes - which hands the advantage to the NH90. The other nations are replacing larger machines - such as the tandem rotor Kawasaki KV-107, Mil Mi-8 Hip and Westland Sea King.

Meanwhile, the bidders are discussing industrial participation with Nordic companies. One industry source notes direct offset - work on the programme as opposed to other contracts - partners are limited and that Kongsberg, Patria Finavitec and Saab "will win whoever supplies the helicopter".

Source: Flight International