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UAE axes $879m military helicopter deal with Airbus

Muammar Abdulla Abushehab, defense and security industry affairs sector chief for the UAE’s Tawazun Council, stressed that the decision was not a political one.
H225M helicopter

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has canceled a contract worth nearly $879 million to buy 12 H225 Caracal multirole military helicopters (H225M) from France's aircraft giant Airbus, an Emirati government official said. 

“We recently terminated a contract with Airbus Helicopters to purchase H225 helicopters,” Muammar Abdulla Abushehab, defense and security industry affairs sector chief for the UAE’s Tawazun Council, told Breaking Defense in an interview published Tuesday.

“We found it difficult to continue the contract due to the high lifecycle cost, the limitations in adapting to modular designs of future mission requirements, and the complex technical proposal,” he added.

The council is a government entity that works closely with the UAE Ministry of Defense and security agencies. It covers research and development as well as acquisitions and technological innovation in the UAE’s defense sector.

Abushehab stressed that the cancellation was not for political reasons but rather for financial and technical reasons. 

“The company lacked the serious motivation to respond to our demands in order to meet the pressing requirements of the government. The failure to achieve in-country value goals was another factor in the decision to terminate the contract,” the government official said.

Airbus declined to comment on customer discussions.

"We have been serving the armed forces of the UAE for more than 40 years. We're proud of our relationship, which also serves the bilateral relations between France and the UAE," a spokesperson from the European aerospace company said.

The H225Ms are long-range helicopters that have twin engines and can carry up to 28 troops along with two crew. 

The order was placed when French President Emmanuel Macron visited Abu Dhabi in December 2021, where a $17.5 billion contract for 80 Rafale fighter jets and a deal for a stock of MICA NG and Scalp missiles was also agreed upon. 

Kuwait ordered 30 of the helicopters in August 2016. 

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