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Some concept in Chopper training reaches the French shores

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  • Some concept in Chopper training reaches the French shores

    Initiated by the UK MoD, private contracting now crossing the Channel

    Helicopter Training Contract Is New Approach for French Government

    France on Jan. 31 signed its first public-private partnership (PPP) contract in the defense sector, a 22-year deal to supply helicopter pilot training hours at the Dax center.
    Defense Minister Hervé Morin approved the deal with Defense Conseil International (DCI) and Proteus Helicopters, the Délégation Général pour l’Armement (DGA) procurement office said in a statement.
    Once at cruising speed, the contract is worth an annual 22 million euros ($32 million), and assumes 22,000 flying hours a year, the DGA said.
    The public-private partnership contract breaks with the traditional mode of government contract awards.
    Under the training contract, the government only begins paying for flying hours in 2010, when the first helicopters are delivered to the flying school. The flying instructors will still be military personnel, not contractors.
    “This is more flexible,” a DGA spokesman said. “It means we pay only for flying hours and allows the contractor to find other clients.”
    The government can buy the helicopters at the end of the contract for a small amount, he added.
    The Defense Ministry is expected to make greater use of such PPP deals as part of efforts to cut spending on support functions and focus on front-line tasks. The minister looks to find 1 billion to 1.5 billion euros of savings in a governmentwide economy drive.
    Training specialist DCI teamed with Proteus to compete for the contract against Eurocopter, part of EADS. The tender terms stipulated Eurocopter EC120 helicopters should be used by the contract holder. DCI and Proteus will operate 36 EC120Bs, DCI said in a statement.
    The EC120s will be equipped with avionics from Safran’s Sagem DS and ECT Industries, DCI said. Nova Capital provided financing for buying the helicopters, with BRED Banque Populaire and Dexia Crédit Local subscribing to the debt funding.
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