Portugal has cancelled a contract it signed in December 1999 with Eurocopter for nine EC 635 T1 helicopters worth €34 million ($33 million). It follows dissatisfaction with the Franco-German manufacturer's response to delivery delays and military certification problems.

The helicopters should have been handed over between July 2001 and March 2002, but so far none have been delivered. Portuguese defence minister Paulo Portas told local media last week that he will find a solution to the Portuguese army's light aviation needs "in good time".

Eurocopter says: "All the requests made by the Portuguese defence ministry concerning delivery time delays were accepted by Eurocopter and, furthermore, a new delivery schedule had been agreed that was deemed satisfactory by the armed forces."

Rather than delivery delays, Eurocopter says the cancellation is due to "a disagreement between the concerned parties over whether or not certain weapon system integration work was to be included in the tasks assumed by Eurocopter as part of the contract".

Eurocopter says the nine helicopters will "rapidly be reassigned to customers in other countries".


Source: Flight International