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The Helicopter Obsession

Autor: Victor Ciutacu 02 Dec 2005 - 00:00
The Helicopter Obsession

The Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs (MAIA) is to ask the Government for the approval for purchasing several helicopters with the total value of 165 million euros.

In July, Jurnalul National was the first newspaper to announce that the representatives of the ministry have elaborated and posted on the institution’s website - for public consultation - a project to ask for the approval of the Executive regarding the commercial contracts for purchasing more helicopters for the air patrol and the surveillance of the frontiers.


The respective project says that the commercial documents will be made based on the valid laws regarding the public purchasing. The Romanian Government is ready to pay an immense sum, 165 million euros, for this and the payment should be made by installments during a period of 4 years, 2006-2009. As an answer for the Jurnalul National "fog", the institution led by Vasile Blaga appealed to the "depth of the air resources". It happened in an emotional moment, it was the beginning of the devastating floods this summer.

As a consequence of the started scandal, the project remained aside for a period of time. However, right after the end of the education strike, caused by the serious under-financing, MAIA forwarded again the idea of the renewal of the armada. The aircrafts in the project are to be used for patrol, surveillance of frontiers, interventions in case of fire, transport of the special intervention troops, and for the humanitarian missions.


This summer, Jurnalul National also revealed the possible beneficiary of this entire deal. More clues, the fact that the sum in the project is in euro, the affiliation to EADS, the licensee of the contract (which was initially criticized and then continued by the present Government) for the frontier security, led to Eurocopter. As a matter of fact, the representatives of the European corporation have asked for the support of more ministers regarding the unlocking of the activity of the IAR-Eurocopter company one year ago. What did that support imply? It meant a decent number of orders from the state for the factory in Brasov, which would have justified the continuity of the constructor’s activity in Romania. The respective articles have made vice-PM Gheorghe Seculici very angry. Afterwards, Minister Vasile Blaga admitted that the Ministry was to purchase 30 helicopters, 22 of which would be light, 5 would be medium and 3 heavy, and that a clause would be introduced in the conditions of the contract that should ask the supplier to assembly the 22 light aircrafts in the works at Brasov.


Now, MAIA’s resources mean 13 helicopters, only 7 out of which have an exploitation age of less than 10 years. However, the assertiveness of the authorities in promoting this project seems to end up in a beautiful armada to help the people whose well-known priorities are different, but in the benefit of our partners in the friend-country, where President Traian Basescu was in an official visit recently…

Translation by Sorin Balan
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