Thursday, February 11, 2010

Singapore Airshow: Eurocopter Secures Sale to Taiwan

Defense News


Singapore Airshow: Eurocopter Secures Sale to Taiwan

By Wendell Minnick

SINGAPORE - Taiwan's air force has selected the Eurocopter EC225 helicopter against a Sikorsky bid for the S-92 for a medium-lift helicopter requirement for search and rescue missions.

The contract for three helicopters was awarded to Eurocopter in December for $111 million. The deal includes an option for a total of 20 helicopters. The contract will be signed in the next few days, said a Taiwan defense source.

The deal comes as a surprise since European defense companies have shied away from arms sales to Taiwan in favor of lucrative commercial sales to China. There has not been a European arms deal with Taiwan since the early 1990s when France sold La Fayette-class frigates and Mirage 2000 fighters to Taiwan.

The sale comes on the heels of a $6 billion U.S. arms deal that included Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles, navy mine sweepers and Harpoon training missiles.

What is equally odd about the contract award is China has remained silent on the issue after it threatened to sanction U.S. companies selling arms to Taiwan, and occurs at the same time European leaders have been pushing for a lifting of arms exports to China.