Turkey chooses US combat helicopter
BERLIN, March 12 (AFP) - 03:37 GMT - Turkey has chosen constructor Bell Helicopter-Textron and its Cobra AH-1 model to supply Ankara with 145 combat helicopters, the German daily Die Welt reported Sunday.
On March 6 Ankara had announced three constructors were still in the running for the order: the Russian-Israeli Kamov, the Italian Agusta and Bell Helicopter-Textron. The Franco-German Eurocopter and the US Boeing company had been dropped.
Die Welt said Turkey had opted for the Cobra because that model had been adapted for the Israeli and American armies, with whom Ankara could collaborate.
Turkey in 1997 launched the four billion dollar bid offer for joint production of the helicopters in Turkish Aerospace Industries' installations near Ankara, with a foreign partner to modernize its armed forces' combat capability.
Die Welt said however that it was not yet known whether the helicopters would be made in Turkey or delivered ready for use.
Ankara, which has the biggest army numerically in NATO after the United States, its main arms supplier, intends to spend some 150 billion dollars on modernizing its army over the next 30 years.
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