Philippine defense secretary scraps US$29.3 million proposed US helicopter deal
The Associated Press
Last Updated: January 25, 2008 23:20:06
MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The Philippine Department of National Defense scrapped a proposed 12 billion peso (US$29.3 million, €20 million) deal for six attack helicopters after accusing a local agent of a U.S. manufacturer of altering its bid, an official said Friday.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro rejected a proposal by Asian Aerospace Corp. - a representative of the U.S. aircraft manufacturer McDonell Douglas - after a fact-finding committee found "unauthorized alterations of the technical specifications" for six night-capable attack helicopters, Defense Undersecretary Ariston delos Reyes said.
Asian Aaerospace's proposal for the six MD-530F helicopters did not meet the military's requirements, including a 1,360 kilogram (3,000 pound) payload capacity, delos Reyes said.
The investigation was launched after complaints by two companies - Swidnik of Poland and Augusta-Westland of Italy - which were both disqualified from bidding partly because of their inability to deliver the helicopters within 12 months, said delos Reyes, who headed the committee.
Delos Reyes also said Asian Aaerospace's estimate was "excessive and disadvantageous." He said the quoted price for the six helicopters was twice as much as an earlier estimate by the company for 12 of the same aircraft.
Asian Aerospace President Peter Rodriguez denied the accusations and said he will challenge the decision.
"We did not bid in bad faith," said Rodriguez, adding the company "did not have a hand in any alteration of the bid."
He said Asian Aerospace earlier informed the Defense Department that the MD-530F did not have a 1,360-kilogram payload capacity. Rodriguez added the earlier estimate for the 12 helicopters was based on a civilian version, not a military one.
Teodoro directed the committee to continue its investigation to determine if criminal charges should be filed against company executives as well as Philippine defense and military officers over the failed deal.
The Philippines wants the light attack helicopters to fight communist rebels. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the military to end the nearly 40-year communist insurgency by the time she steps down in 2010.Source - http://www.aol.in/news/story/200801252315004987151/index.html