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Thu, Jan 10, 2008

Philippine Officials Investigate Helo Bid-Rigging Allegations

PZL Questions Contract Award To Boeing Partner

Back in September, the Philippine government requested bids to provide six new attack helicopters to aid in the fight against communist rebels and Islamic militants. Boeing partner Asian Aerospace Corporation won the bid... but now, the government is investigating irregularities in that process.

Undersecretary Ariston delos Reyes, a retired navy admiral, told Reuters Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro had given him until January 21 to probe complaints from Poland, one of the other bidders.

"We were ordered to look into complaints that certain rules in the bidding procedures were ignored to favor one bidder over the others," delos Reyes told Reuters. Interviews with officials have yet to begin.

Asian Aerospace had offered the McDonnell Douglas-spec MG530F. Poland's state-owned aircraft manufacturer, PZL-Swidnik S.A., offered six modified, Russian-made Mi2 Plus attack helicopters in the contest. A third bidder, Italy's Agusta-Westland, was disqualified after it failed to guarantee deliveries of the aircraft within a 12-month period.

Most of the 85 UH-1H and MG-520 helicopters in the Philippine fleet are Vietnam-era equipment, donated by the US to help the country fight rebels. Only half are said to be in flying condition.



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