Procurement: July 28, 2002


The saga of Turkey's purchase of 145 advanced combat helicopters is not over. They selected the Bell AH-1Z King Cobra in July 2000 but have yet to sign a contract. Disputes over subsystems and computer codes having been resolved, the main dispute is over cost. The initial estimate for the first 50 aircraft was $1.9 billion (a figure the Turks were not happy with) but this has steadily climbed to just over $2 billion. Bell says that the cost increases are due to changes demanded by Turkey and the increasing financial risk, and has refused to reduce its price although it is sending a team to Turkey to discuss the contract. The Turks have, as a bargaining maneuver, asked the Russians for pricing on their Ka-50-2, but that deal is difficult as the Turks want only the airframes (into which they will install Israeli electronics and weapons) while the Russians want the profit from the weapon and electronic sales.--Stephen V Cole




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