The visit in France of Romanian minister of Defence she will help clarify the intentions of Romania in respect of purchase of helicopters? Because Bucharest, which takes over the presidency of Europe in a little over six months, seems to be seduced by the devices of the Bell.
After Poland, Airbus Helicopters has a real problem in Romania. And a serious. It must be said that Bucharest ride for the past two years the manufacturer of Marignane while dredging openly in parallel, the american Bell. An air of déjà vu in Poland with Sikorsky. Decidedly the defence of Europe is far, very far from the concerns of most member countries of the european Union (Poland, Sweden, Romania, netherlands, Denmark, the netherlands, Norway…). And to say that Romania, which has yet established a cooperation of almost 50 years, with Airbus Helicopters, will take in a little more than six months the presidency of the council of the european Union in January.
The study visit in France (Monday to Paris, and Tuesday at the Marignane) of the minister of Defence of romania, Mihai Fifor, who meets with his counterpart in Florence Parly, will perhaps clarify the misunderstanding between Bucharest and Airbus Helicopters. In spite of the promises made to Emmanuel Macron in August 2017 during his visit in Romania, nothing happened to the european manufacturer. And for good reason. Bucharest has forged a close relationship with Bell, which eyeing a command of 45 attack helicopters (24 AH-1Z Viper) – up to then not the priority of the Romania – and tactical transport (21 UH-1Y Venom). These devices would be assembled by the industrial IAR (Industria Aeronautică limbe română), the historical partner… Airbus Helicopters. The two groups have created, in 2000, Airbus Helicopters Romania, owned at 49% by IAR.
Romanians are also rendered in march in the United States, who have two military bases in Romania. More specifically, they went to the headquarters of Bell in Fort Worth, Texas, and then in the factory of the us manufacturer to Amarillo, and, finally, to camp Pendleton to talk with Marines of the Viper.
Airbus Helicopters ready to close its assembly plant
The new boss of Airbus Helicopters, Bruno Even, who is about to auscultate the company and its international footprint, would like a positioning firm on the part of the Romanians. In fact, the data in the file are clear to the manufacturer : either, Bucharest buys helicopters to the constructor of the franco-German to rotate the chain assembly of the helicopter of transport H215 to Ghrimbav inaugurated in August 2016 in the presence of François Hollande, the latter is closed and transferred to another country. With this assembly line, Romania would have entered the restricted circle of countries who have mastered the manufacture of a helicopter (France, Usa, Russia, China, Italy, India, Great Britain).
“They are willing to sacrifice 50 years of cooperation. It is a huge disappointment,”laments one within the constructor, who has already trained fifty workers romanians in Marignane. Airbus Helicopters will keep, nevertheless, plant maintenance Ghrimbav, which has recently been modernised 23 Puma for the RAF (Royal Air Force). “Our patience has limits. We need a command to otc at least 16 H215M of the Romanian army to launch the assembly line, but the Romanians do seem to be more interested” explains it into Airbus Helicopters. The manufacturer has yet sold under license in the 1970’s, a sixty devices of type Puma in Romania. Even today, between 30 and 40 helicopters are still in operational service in the army while they are out of breath.
Located Ghrimbav (near Brasov) 180 km north of Bucharest, the assembly line has been dimensioned for a capacity of production of 15 aircraft per year. Airbus Helicopters is committed to the manufacture in Romania of the devices sold on the export markets. With commands won on the international market, the manufacturer would already have a plan of care for two years for the assembly line Ghrimbav (5/6 for Romania, 9 for the export market). “With or without them, we will have the orders to export”, assure-t-on chez Airbus Helicopters.