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Irish helicoptor Procurement cock - up

#1
The Irish Times - Friday, November 13, 2009
Helicopters hired for €2.5m not licensed to carry troops in Chad

FIONA GARTLAND

THE DEFENCE Forces mission in Chad was not compromised by the hire of two helicopters that were incapable of carrying troops, the general secretary at the Department of Defence said yesterday.
Two Russian Mi-8T helicopters were leased in June 2008 for the Irish mission to Chad, but were not licensed to carry troops.
In a robust defence of the mix-up, Michael Howard said the issue was a regulatory one and did not reflect in any way on the safety of the aircraft.
The Committee of Public Accounts was considering the report of the auditor and comptroller general, John Buckley, in relation to funding for defence and for the Chad mission.
The mission, initiated by the EU and taken over by the UN, cost €61 million.
Mr Buckley’s report had said a series of mistakes, including in the procurement process, had led to the two Russian helicopters being leased at a cost of €2.5 million.
Mr Howard said it had always been accepted that helicopters would be needed for the mission, but up until the end of May 2008, they had been told “in good faith” these would be supplied by other EU countries. “At the last minute that fell through,” he said.
The authority to procure the helicopters was delegated to the chief of staff and they were leased under time pressure and arrived in Chad at the end of June. In September they were discovered to have only been licensed for cargo transportation. The helicopters could not then be used for transporting troops, Mr Howard said, but he emphasised they were always available for emergency evacuation if required and were used for transporting cargo.
The UK company that supplied them, Air Partner, replaced the helicopters with suitably licensed ones in January 2009.
Niall Collins (FF) asked if the mission had been compromised.
“Essentially the mission was not compromised,” Mr Howard said. “It was a successful mission.”
He said the procurement process had been completely revamped since then, but no one had been penalised for the mistake.
Mr Howard also said the handover of the Chad mission from EU control to UN control in June 2009 had presented difficulties and the contract with Air Partner for the two helicopters had to be extended to October.
Mr Howard said it took the UN seven hours to respond to a call for an emergency helicopter to evacuate a soldier who had broken his arm. “We were a bit unnerved by that,” he said.
From the Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1113/1224258725963.html
 
#3
The long and the short of it is that the DF were trying to get things up are running ASAP as the troops were needed urgently. Helicopters were vital and an officer who wasn't authorised to do so signed a contract!
 
#4
I don't know if it was even that the person who signed the contract was unauthorised to do so. I think he simply didn't think to check if some bizarre European rule prohibited the use of a military-configured helicopter for the transport of troops. (The problem was that the seats in the helos faced sideways, which is apparently a no-no for passenger transport in the EU)

NTM
 
#5
California_Tanker said:
I don't know if it was even that the person who signed the contract was unauthorised to do so. I think he simply didn't think to check if some bizarre European rule prohibited the use of a military-configured helicopter for the transport of troops. (The problem was that the seats in the helos faced sideways, which is apparently a no-no for passenger transport in the EU)

NTM
The officer who signed the contract had no authority to do so.

They were civilian helicopters on the civil register so had to comply with EU flying regulations (unlike a military one on the military register).

Also EU procurement rules were broken as well.

Comptrollers report - http://www.audgen.gov.ie/documents/annualreports/2008/Annual_Report_2008Rev_En.pdf (from page 284)
 

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