‘Disaster’: Norway’s Top Brass Grilled Over Helicopter Deal Delayed For Decades

The NH90 helicopters were ordered back in 2001, but won’t be in full service until 2025. Despite calling the delay a “tragedy” and a “disaster”, Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen still ventured it was still the best option for Norway.

A parliamentary hearing over faulty and highly expensive defence equipment procurement has started in Norway. No fewer than seven defence ministers and top military officials will be questioned on the fate of multi-purpose helicopters NH90, national broadcaster NRK reported.

The 14 helicopters were ordered in 2001 to the tune of NOK 11 billion ($1.3 billion). Today, 17 years later, only nine of the helicopters have been delivered. What’s more, they remain mostly grounded due to “drastic maintenance needs and a severe shortage of reserve parts”. Realistically, the helicopters won’t enter full service until 2025, that is a quarter of a century since being ordered.

Norway’s helicopter ordeal started in 2000, when Defence Minister Bjørn Tore Godal’s team, according to a critical report by the state auditor’s office, instead of selecting a tried and tested helicopter model opted for an experimental one, even though not a single one had been produced at that moment

The NH90 was developed by several European countries and produced in Italy. The medium-sized, twin-engine was specifically designed for operation in naval environments. According to the initial plan, the NH90s were to be placed on Norwegian coast guard vessel…

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