The Romanian government issued the tender announcement on 7th May 2020. The results were reached on 17th September this year. The tender pertains to a 4-years framework agreement. According to the previous technical assumptions, the acquisition concerns up to 12 helicopters, 4 of which are to be maritime-operations-capable, and 8 are to be used over land. The SMURD (Serviciul Mobil de Urgență, Reanimare și Descarcerare) state rescue service is to be the user of the new platform. The aircraft are to be capable of carrying out MEDEVAC and SAR sorties and also work in a firefighting role.
The contract as a whole has a value of almost EUR 272.86 million. The base order refers to 4 helicopters worth EUR 93.5 million, while the remaining ones may potentially be ordered later. The offer placed by Mielec received a rating of 97 points during the procurement. According to the information referring to the initial bids, Lockheed Martin's PZL Mielec facility was competing against Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo.
Economica.net quoted the Romanian authorities, listing the offers comparatively. The offer placed by Leonardo included 12 helicopters: 4 maritime and 8 land-based, at a price of EUR 299 million. The unit prices were as follows:
- EUR 26.05 million (VAT excluded) for the maritime helicopter
- EUR 24.35 million (VAT excluded) for the multi-role land helicopter
Airbus Helicopters Romania obliged itself to deliver 8 helicopters: 3 maritime and 5 land-based variants. The unit prices were as follows:
- EUR 32.99 million (VAT excluded) for the maritime helicopter
- EUR 31.59 million (VAT excluded) for the multi-role land helicopter
The Polish facility proposed delivery of 12 helicopters, for EUR 272.84 million: 4 maritime and 8 land-based ones. The unit prices were as follows:
- EUR 22.77 million (VAT excluded) for the maritime helicopter
- EUR 22.77 million (VAT excluded) for the multi-role land helicopter
Hence, the Polish offer has been the cheapest. We know that it included four civil S-70M helicopters, plus four modified for maritime operations. Mielec has also been offering cooperation to local Romanian businesses, including the Romaero company.
Meanwhile, the offer placed by Airbus (who has been dominating the Romanian rotary-wing market for quite some time) was immediately rejected. To meet the financial framework, Airbus decided to offer fewer helicopters than required.
Leonardo's offer was more competitive. The Italians even placed an appeal, stating that they were not able to tailor the final financial offers (as it should happen, according to Leonardo, in case of a competitive negotiation).
Acquisition of medium or heavy multi-role helicopters for the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs was co-financed by the EU, within the framework of an operational programme.