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Germany to Supply Albania with 12 Bo-105 Helicopters

04 Apr 2006

On April 3, 2006, the final contract for the delivery of 12 Bölkow-Blom (MBB) Bo-105 lightweight twin-engine multi-role helicopters to the Republic of Albania was signed in Tirana between the Albanian Ministry of Defense and Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH. The contract was signed in the presence of the Albanian Minister of Defense Fatimir Mediu, German Ambassador in Albania Hans Peter Anen, the Chief of the Albanian Air Force Gen Brig Astrit Jaupi and the Deputy President of the Eurocopter Mathias Obermayer. According to the Albanian Government, six of the Bo-105 helicopters are designated for the Albanian Air Force, four for the Ministry of Interior and the remaining two for the Ministry of Health. Under the 10 million Euro contract that is going to be valid for 3 years, until 2009, Eurocopter has took obligation to provide Albanian operators with all the necessary logistical support in the form of spare parts delivery and any necessary maintenance. Under the same contract, Eurocopter will adopt the helicopters according to specific needs of Albanian operators and will also provide the training for the pilots and technicians.

The recently signed contract is a logical follow-up to a June 30, 2005, contract that was signed between Albanian Deputy Minister of Defense Sadetin Stankaj and German Ambassador in Tirana, Hans Peter Annen, for what was at that time reported as German Army donation of 12 Bo-105 helicopters to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania. However, under the latest plans, only six Bo-105 helicopters will join the Helicopter Regiment in Farke that already operates ex-Italian Army AB-205 and AB-206 helicopters. Albanian Ministry of Defence believes that the delivery of German Bo-105s will help Albanian Air Force in its efforts to modernize itself according to NATO standards and will improve its skills in Air Control, in Search and Rescue (SAR) operation and even in other missions on behalf of frontier protection and defense.

Both Germany and The Netherlands are actively looking for friendly countries that would like to accept their surplus Bo-105 helicopters as a donation. During 2000 Macedonia negotiated with Germany for delivery of 16 ex-German Army Bo-105 helicopters. Macedonia and Germany negotiated over donation of four Bo-105CB trainers, eight Bo-105P anti-tank helicopters and four Bo-105M reconnaissance helicopters, plus a batch of UH-1D Huey utility helicopters with complete system for logistical support. However, at the end, this acquisition failed to materialize. Recently, the Netherlands has offered its surplus Air Force Bo-105 helicopters to Macedonia but Macedonia's Ministry of Defence refused this offer claiming that in future it will purchase only brand-new helicopters that are in line with country needs.

Report by Igor Bozinovski



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