Eurocopter is in "advanced" negotiations with Turkey on licence-building 30 Cougar Mk 1 utility helicopters. The deal follows an order in 1993 for 20 machines - which were supplied directly from the Franco-German company.

Few details of the accord are being released, but it is understood to be worth up to $400 million, depending on the final agreement. The helicopters would be built by Turkish Aerospace Industries, which licence-builds Lockheed-Martin F-16 fighters for the Turkish air force.

The deal comes as Eurocopter's fortunes have improved significantly over the last few years, with sales in 1996 of 228 helicopters, an increase of 75% over the 1995 figures. The manufacturer is near to flying the second prototype of the multinational NH90 transport helicopter, which is the first to have a fly-by-wire flight control system. The flight has been delayed for two months because of problems with the actuators. "These have been resolved, and we expect the aircraft to fly at the end of February," says an NH Industries source.

Source: Flight International