Honduras abandons helicopter purchase plan but urgent need remains
Honduras is believed to have abandoned plans to purchase a new fleet of helicopters, just months after appearing to commit to ordering six new and six refurbished platforms.
Originally three manufacturers had been in the running to supply six new helicopters but this process had narrowed to one, Airbus Helicopters with the H145M, but it is reported that the helicopter did not comply with bidding processes outlined by the Honduran government.
The announcement comes after it was stated in April that the deal would go ahead. Under this arrangement two aircraft were to be delivered annually over three years, starting in 2023 or in 2024. The contract was believed to be worth about $72 million.
The order would have provided replacements for the Honduran Air Force’s five Bell 412 helicopters. These aircraft underwent an overhaul and refurbishment in 2010. This work included a complete overhaul and inspection of the airframe, engines and all dynamic components as well as an avionics upgrade and modernisation.
The aircraft would be used in a range of non-defence roles, such as firefighting and rescue, but would also be armed to conduct more traditional military roles such as drug interdiction and stopping trafficking.
The solution to this substantial decline in capability is unclear but it is likely a similar procurement effort may be launched again in an effort to meet a desperate need.
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