News BlogCentral Southern Africa

EUFOR Chad. Irish helicopters not homologated. Lack of control, says report

(B2) A “poor communication in the military chain of command” and an “excessive zeal” in making a contract, these are the conclusions reached by Lt General Dermot Earley (photo © Irish Army), in his report submitted to the minister Irish Defense, after the affair of the two helicopters, unsuitable for transporting troops. And in which he apologizes, flatly, for having put him in an embarrassing position, reports theIrish Times.

The Irish forces had, in fact, rented on June 28 for 2,4 million euros from a private British company Air Partner, two Mi-8 helicopters, intended to transport their troops and based at Camp Ciara in Goz Beida, during the ten months from the operation. But these were not approved to transport people!

The pot of roses was discovered last September. And it was forbidden to take its helicopters to transport personnel, these being reserved for freight (see  “two Irish helicopters banned from missions?”). This precaution is probably not superfluous, since one of its devices suffered on October 16 – reports theIrish Independent, a partial engine failure and became unusable following an aborted takeoff at N'Djamena airport.

.Apparently the private company is not without reproach since the army had clearly specified the transport of passengers in its call for tenders. But admits the general, “The control measures put in place have not really been sufficient”. The contract would in fact have been signed in May, without the general's formal approval, and without contact with the Ministry of Defense. Since then, negotiations have been held with Air Partner to provide a Mi-8T replacement, this time fully certified for passenger transport. The story ends well!

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).