KUALA LUMPUR: Brazil on Tuesday (Dec 23) signed a defence pact with France which analyst estimates to be around 6 to 8 billion Euros which include the purchase and local manufacture of the EC-725 Cougar and four SSKs, most probably a more advance Scorpene.
The cost of the Cougars was not released but Reuters cited analysts as saying the contract is worth at least 1.9 billion Euros, which I translated into RM182 million for each helicopter. If this is correct, the amount is about RM30 million more expensive than the price quoted for our Nuri Replacement Programme although our numbers are far more smaller than the Brazilian buy.
Will it be the same price for us if we delayed the procurement of the Cougar within the next two years? It may be the case. The Brazilian Cougars will be manufactured by Eurocopter in the South American country with its local helo builder, Helibras, which may account for the higher unit price.
It seems that the Cougar had turned the corner following our initial intention to purchase the medium-lift helicopter. Although Brazil was reported late last month to be ready to procure the Mi-17s from Russia, the latest events seemed to vindicate MINDEF decision to procure the Cougar for the NRP although the tender process could have been done in a more judicious way so as not to attract controversies.
From Eurocopter website.
“Following the EU-Brazil summit, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil officially announced the contract for 50 EC725 helicopters which has been signed by the Brazilian government and a consortium formed by Eurocopter and Helibras. The helicopters will be operated by Brazil’s armed forces and the first deliveries are scheduled for 2010. This is the largest contract ever signed in South America and will provide Brazil with a fleet that is capable of performing an extremely wide range of missions. The contract will also allow Eurocopter to continue its expansion in South America.
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