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Norwegian NH90 cancellation and refund demand ‘legally groundless', says manufacturer

NHI has reiterated its earlier position that it would not accept Norwayʼs decision to axe its NH90 programme and demand a refund, with the consortium saying the countryʼs position on the matter is “legally groundless”. (Royal Norwegian Air Force)

Norway's decision to cancel its NH90 helicopter contract earlier in 2022 and to demand a refund has been described by NHIndustries (NHI) as “legally groundless”.

The assertion came in a 3 November earnings statement released by NHI stakeholder Leonardo about five months after Norway said that the type was unable to fulfil the requirements of the armed forces. Norway had said that it would seek a full refund of the approximately NOK5 billion (USD474 million) it has paid for its NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopters (NFHs), plus interest and other expenses.

“In June, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) formalised a request for termination for default under the contract – governed by the Norwegian laws – for the supply of 14 NH90 helicopters, which had been entered into in 2001 , with NHI, a company incorporated under French law, the shareholdings of which are held by Leonardo, Airbus Helicopters, and Fokker Aerostructure, due to alleged delays and alleged product non-conformities.

“The contract has been subject to extensions and amendments over the years and was expected to be completed by the end of 2023. NDMAʼs request is to return the 13 helicopters that have already been delivered and accepted and claim repayment of the disbursed amounts, including interest. NHI considers this request for termination for default legally groundless and reasonably challengeable in any appropriate forum due to lack of factual and legal basis, misinterpretation of the contract and the Norwegian law, as well as breach of confidentiality obligations,” the consortium said.

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