"Two Italian and French companies have presented proposals. They are Agusta Westland and Eurocopterm," Vice-Minister of National Defense Mykolas Juozapavičius told BNS.
He did not specify offered helicopter models. The representative of the Ministry of National Defense also said quite a lot of procedures would have to be followed until the end of the tender, and the winner would be announced in several months.
"If looking optimistically, the agreement could be signed in late 2012 or in January or February 2013. The next stages involve looking into offers, identifying nonconformities, preparing requests for additional information. It can take around three weeks," the vice-minister said.
"Then invitations for talks, and individual talks with both suppliers might take around three weeks. Then we'll receive final proposals, look into them, provide the results to the institution administering EU funds for further evaluation. And only then will the winner be announced. All in all, it may take some three months," Juozapavičius said.
Lithuania plans to use EU funds to purchase three middle-class helicopters for civilian tasks, with the first expected to be delivered by April 2015 and the remaining two – by September 2015.
Lithuania has to purchase new helicopters by 2016 as currently used Russian helicopters Mi-8 will become outdated by then.
The helicopter purchase has recently sparked a political controversy after several political parties expressed their resentment over plans to use funds that were not spent for housing renovation for the purchase.
Lithuania plans to spend LTL 138 million (almost EUR 40 million) for the purchase of helicopters.