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Norway Still Waiting for 'Helicopter that Never Seems to be Ready'

Feb. 12, 2014 - 06:51PM   |  
By MARCUS WEISGERBER   |   Comments
FRANCE-DEFENCE-NAVY-EXERCICE
A NH90 helicopter lands on the new Italo-French FREMM multipurpose frigate Aquitaine in 2012 off the coast of Lorient, France. Norway entered a pact to buy the NH90 multirole helicopter in 2001 but the Scandinavian nation has received only three. (Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — Norway entered a pact to buy the NH90 multirole helicopter in 2001 but the Scandinavian nation has received only three.

“I presume that is a story well known of the helicopter that never seems to be ready,” Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, Norway’s chief of defense, said during a Feb. 12 presentation at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.

The NATO Frigate-type NH90s are supposed to replace the Norwegian Coast Guard’s Lynx helicopters. The sub-hunting aircraft are supposed to operate from the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates.

Norway is supposed to get 14 new NH90 helicopters, built by NHIndustries, which is owned by Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and the Dutch group Stork Fokker Aerospace.

Norway had hoped to have its initial helicopters in 2005. So far, NHIndustries has delivered only three helicopters. The company is supposed to deliver another six aircraft are in 2014.

“But we have long since come to the conclusion that we [will] believe it when we see it,” Bruun-Hanssen said.

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