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Algeria orders six Super Lynx helicopters

altThe Algerian Navy is believed to have ordered six AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 helicopters for its new Meko A200 class frigates.

In its results for the second quarter of 2012, Finmeccanica stated that, “the most important new orders of the period in the military-government line include the contract to supply six AW Super Lynx 300 helicopters to a key customer in the southern Mediterranean area…”.

The six Super Lynx will be built at AgustaWestland's Yeovil factory. They are expected to operate from the Algerian Navy’s two Meko A200 frigates, which were ordered from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) on March 26 this year. TKMS will supply the two frigates and six Super Lynx helicopters under the contract, which, according to Germany’s Bild, is worth more than €400 million. However, some sources suggest the deal, which includes options on two more frigates, is worth between €2.176 and €2.5 billion.

The Super Lynx order follows on from a November 2007 deal for four Super Lynx Mk 130 and six AW101 Mk 610 Merlin helicopters. The aircraft were purchased for search and rescue – the AW101s feature 360 degree search radars and forward looking infrared/electro optical turrets under their noses.

Algerian crews were trained in Cornwall in the UK, with the first Lynx flying by February 2010 and the first Merlin commencing training flights in May. All the aircraft from this deal are believed to have been delivered and are fully operational. The fourth and final Super Lynx Mk 130 was delivered in January this year, after the first two were delivered in September 2010, followed by the third in February 2011.

Algeria has requested that its helicopter deals with AgustaWestland remain confidential and the Finmeccanica company does not comment on any Algerian acquisitions. However, it is believed that Algeria is acquiring at least 80 helicopters from AgustaWestland. These will be used by its armed forces, paramilitary forces and emergency forces and are being procured through the Algerian Ministry of Defence.

Algeria is procuring 30 AW109 Light Utility Helicopters and 42 AW101s for the paramilitary Gendarmerie Nationale, according to Arabian Aerospace. The magazine believes that 15 AW109s will be supplied to the Gendarmerie, ten to the Unite Aerienne de la Surete Nationale police service and five AW139s to the Protection Civile organisation responsible for emergencies such as fires.

A second batch of helicopters will reportedly consist of 10-15 AW101s for the Gendarmerie while a third phase will see 27-32 AW101s and 15 AW109s being assembled locally. The first two of five AW139s was delivered to the Protection Civile in February this year, according to Air Forces Monthly.

Finmeccanica’s results also made mention of a contract to supply five AW169s to a United Arab Emirates governmental customer; orders to supply two law enforcement-configured AW139 helicopters to the Japanese National Police Agency and the contract to supply one AW109 helicopter to the Chilean military police.
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