The helicopter consortium NHIndustries said it was “extremely disappointed” by the Norwegian Defense Ministry’s decision to terminate its NH90 contract, adding it considered the cancelation to be “legally groundless”.
The NH90 is a twin-engine military transport helicopter resulting from a partnership between France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. NHIndustries regroups Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters Division, and Fokker Technologies.
On June 10, 2022, the ministry canceled a contract for 14 NH90 helicopters over delivery delays and availability problems and said it would seek reimbursement of 5 billion Norwegian kroner (around €500 million).
The Norwegian authorities claimed that of the six NH90s in anti-submarine warfare configuration for the Navy and eight NH90s for the Coast Guard ordered in 2001, only eight fully operational aircraft were received. The manufacturer refuted this information.
“With 13 helicopters delivered out of 14 and the fourteenth ready for acceptance, we were close to finalizing the main scope of the initial contract,” NHIndustries said.
The helicopters, which were expected to fly 3,900 hours a year, have only flown an average of 700 hours, according to the Norwegian Defense Ministry. “NH90 will not be able to meet the needs of the [Norwegian] Armed Forces,” Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram explained
In a 2018 report, the Norwegian Chief of Defense already identified that Norwegian NH-90 helicopters could only provide the flight hours agreed upon in their operational contract if “good spare parts availability, enough maintenance frames, and large enough maintenance organization” were secured.
NHIndustries said it did not receive an opportunity to “discuss the latest proposal made to improve the availability of the NH90 in Norway and to address the specific Norwegian requirements.”