Airbus Caracal Helicopter in Kuwaiti Air Force livery (Kuwait MoD image)
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense (MoD) Thursday announced the formation of a technical committee to investigate defects in Airbus Caracal helicopters, besides suspending further deliveries of these aircraft pending the outcome of the investigation.
The announcement came in response to some members of the National Assembly questioning the technical malfunction of two H225M Caracal helicopters received from the manufacturer.
MoD statement in Arabic- translated from Google:
“An explanation from the Ministry of Defense regarding the questions and inquiries submitted by some of the Honorable Representatives in the National Assembly about the technical malfunction of the (Caracal) planes, and what two planes of this type were exposed to before they were formally received from the manufacturer.
The Ministry of Defense, out of its keenness on the safety of its children, pilots and workers working on this type of aircraft, in order to preserve public funds, and in interaction with these statements and questions due from the deputies, today issued a decision to form a (specialized technical committee) whose tasks are to examine all the causes Which prevented the aircraft from receiving, and also finding a mechanism to address these causes and prevent their recurrence in the future, in addition to ensuring that all aircraft arrive safely to the homeland and without any technical defect therein.
Accordingly, the Ministry confirms the suspension of its receipt of these aircraft at the present time until awaiting the results of examining the formed committee and receiving the reports of the manufacturer thereof regarding the defect to which some of these aircraft were exposed, and then taking the appropriate decision about officially receiving them from the manufacturer.”
Airbus H225M Caracal Helicopters (Airbus photo)
In Jul 2018, Kuwait Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, had ordered an investigation into the $1.19 billion order for 30 H225M Caracal multirole military utility helicopters, 24 of them for the Kuwaiti Air Force and six for the Kuwait National Guard.
“It has been decided to transfer the case of the Caracal helicopter deal to the National Anti-Corruption Commission,” Kuwait Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Anas al-Saleh had said in 2018. The deal will also be probed by the State Audit Bureau (SAB).
The contract for the helicopters was signed on August 9 2016, during a visit to Kuwait by the then French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Subsequently, allegations of bribery emerged involving a Lebanese middleman.