Dáil Éireann - Volume 661 - 24 September, 2008

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Equipment.

Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Defence the pre-acquisition scoping process embarked upon prior to the order and purchase of the Dauphin helicopters for use by the Air Corps; the reasons for their subsequent unsuitability and sale to a foreign army; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30822/08]

  Deputy Willie O’Dea: I am advised that the procurement of the Dauphin helicopters in the 1980s followed from competitive tendering competitions at that time based on specifications drawn up by the Air Corps. In 2005, the General Officer Commanding Air Corps recommended the sale of four Dauphin helicopters. The Dauphins at that stage needed significant maintenance and the investment required was considered to be excessive for the potential return and was not proceeded with in favour of a re-equipment programme. This programme has seen the acquisition of 2 EC135 helicopters and 6 AW 139 helicopters for the Air Corps, with the final AW 139 helicopter due for acceptance next month.

[691] The four Dauphins, special tools and spare parts were sold following an open tender competition to Rotor Leasing Incorporated in the USA for €311,000 in October 2006.