BUECKEBURG, Germany --- The German defense ministry on Thursday said there would be no "free passes" for any bidders in a nearly 4-billion-euro helicopter deal, a day after Europe's Airbus urged the government to ensure German firms got a big share of the pie.
German defense officials have said they want a low-risk heavy-lift helicopter that already exists, which means the likely supplier will be one of two U.S. firms - Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.
Airbus on Wednesday said choosing German firms to manage and service the new helicopters would secure German jobs, speed certification and ensure German sovereignty. Any other decision would harm the German helicopter industry, it said.
A spokesman for the ministry said Germany had no “buy German” requirement for helicopters, only key technologies such as encryption.
"Competition is a very important factor in this case," he said. "There won't be any free passes for anyone."
Airbus, MTU Aero Engines and six other firms on Wednesday said they had signed a partnership agreement to push for a big German role in managing the new helicopter. (end of excerpt)
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