HC Deb 29 October 2002 vol 391 cc707-8W
Mr. Paice

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what actions he took to obtain tenders for the refurbishment of six ex-Republic of South Africa SA330 Puma aircraft before announcing his intention to place the main structural contract with Eurocopter of France; and what steps he took to ascertain what other companies were capable of undertaking this work. [77120]

Dr. Moonie

[holding answer 28 October 2002]: The ex-Republic of South Africa Air Puma helicopters were procured to supplement the existing Ministry of Defence Puma fleet. Because the aircraft had not flown for over five years, and their previous usage spectrum was unknown, it was essential to ensure that the airworthiness and structural integrity of the aircraft could be adequately assured. Options for effecting the refurbishment of the aircraft to the same standard as the existing fleet were evaluated. It was assessed that Eurocopter, the design authority for the Puma, was the only company with the necessary knowledge of, and competences in, the structural load paths of the Puma to be able to act as a prime contractor. As a result, an entry was placed in the MOD Contracts Bulletin notifying that the work would be placed with Eurocopter, while encouraging Eurocopter to maximise sub-contractor opportunities.

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