Italian global aerospace company Leonardo has attacked the procurement of combat helicopters from USA

 22. 10. 2019      category: Events

The Czech Republic might come into conflict with the European Union due to violation of the rules for public supply contracts. The reason is a contract for delivery of American multi-purpose and combat helicopters. The Ministry of Defence is going to buy these helicopters on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement according to a this-year decision of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.  The Italians don’t like it.

venom
Picture: The attack AH-1Z Viper Helicopter (at the forefront) and its little multi-purpose brother UH-1Y Venom | army.cz

The procedure is attacked by Italian global aerospace company Leonardo. “The submitter absolutely unreasonably and purposefully limits the competition for the procurement within the entire EU, discriminates other potential suppliers and proceeds non-transparently and wastefully,” it writes in its objections, which were sent by the Italians by means of the Jan Varga’s lawyer’s office. The Daily newspaper E15 was familiarized with this document. Speaker of the Army Jan Pejšek, however, takes exception to it. “The Army requires a well-proven helicopter together with certified armament, such as guns and missiles. We have only received such an offer from the American party,” he said. According to Pejšek, all delivered variants, including the Italian one, were evaluated within a marketing survey.

“The submitter has just tried to evade the law. Direct addressing of a government is absolutely inappropriate in case of acquisition of new military materials,“ is declared in the Italian complaint. In case to failure to satisfy the objections of Italian company Leonardo, it would appeal to the Office for the Protection of Competition and, if needed, to the European Committee. What’s more, the European Committee might begin a verification by itself, as it happened in 2010 in case of the CASA aircraft, when the Czech Republic was under threat of legal proceedings in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. 

AW139M (6)
Picture: AW139M middle two-motor multi-purpose helicopter manufactured by Italian-British AgustaWestland | Wikimedia Commons

The Daily newspaper E15 has also obtained a statement of one of the officers of the Ministry of Defence, who declares that in case of a lost legal process, a penalty could reach of hundreds of millions of Czech Crowns. Such a penalty could be also an issue in the earlier case of the above-mentioned procurement of the CASA aircraft, but it was “warded off” thanks to the new implementation of management of the acquisition and control system. In case of real penalty, it would mean a sensible intervention into the defence budget, which, of cause, is not inflatable.

 Author: Martin Šiška