03 August 2018

Exclusive interview: Bell’s general director, about the negotiations with Romania for helicopters acquisition.

Mircea Olteanu

Accomplishing NATO’s objective by spending 2% from GDP for defence is a “huge opportunity” for Romania, says, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and Defence and Security Monitor, Mitch Snyder, president and general director of Bell Company, who offered details about the negotiations with the Romanian Government.

Mitch Snyder, president and general director of Bell Company, one of the biggest company from  world’s aeronautical section, speaks, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and Defence and Security Monitor, about the negotiations between Romania and the American company, regarding the acquisition of 45 helicopters. Bell’s Company leader says that the attack and utilitarian helicopters production from Brasov will create job opportunities and will offer Romania the military equipment needed, and also for interventions if natural disasters happen. Also, Mitch Snyder says that it is a “huge opportunity” for Romania and Bell that our country accomplishes NATO’s objective to spend 2% of GDP for defence.


Reporter: Where is Romania’s position on Bell’s business interest map?

Mitch Snyder: So far, we are supporting Romania’s military modernization, and last year the Romanian government asked the US government for pricing and availability of H-1 crafts, both the attack craft, which is the Viper, and the utilitarian craft, Venom.  So, they requested for 45 aircrafts, what would be the pricing and the availability of those aircrafts, which we responded on fall on the initial price and the availability numbers. Then, we also had a Romanian delegation visit us in US, in March, so they came to the Bell’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, they went to our production facility in Amarillo and then also at the Camp Pendleton where they spoke to US’s Military Marine Corp on how the aircraft are operating on combats. So, there was that visit. Here, in the next few weeks, and at the end of May we will be back, the United States Marine Corp and Bell, to brief in on an update of the price and the availability.

Reporter: About the goal of producing Viper attack helicopters, in Romania, in the near future, what are the chances?

Mitch Snyder: As we continue to work through the process, once the agreement is signed and completed, we are working on a transition study plan right now, where we are accessing how the work content will work here in the industry participation. Once the deal will be signed, we will be working on Bell to put the final assembly of the Romanian aircrafts at IAR. So, along with that goes the technology transfer, as well as new jobs in Romania.

Reporter: That is a very good thing. And an estimation of the year, when could that be? Probably this year? Or the next year?

Mitch Snyder: So, that is all up to the Romanian government process. We are giving them the pricing and the availability and then the next step in the process for the military sales for the US government is for Romania to ask for an LoR or an LoA, which means Letter Offer Request or a Letter Offer Acceptance. So, that would be the next process. We prepared the proposal with the US government, and they will provide that. Once that occurs, the process will start.

Reporter: From your point of view, what does is mean for the business companies that Romania allocated 2% of GDP for Defence, as it a NATO target? Romania is one of the few NATO countries to fulfill this target. What does that mean for Bell company?

Mitch Snyder: again, it is a tremendous opportunity for both Bell and Romania. When you see that kind of evolution, supporting NATO’s operations, and the ability to get up to 45 for Romania, is fantastic. It does provide jobs in the US, but more importantly it provides jobs in Romania. And besides that, Romania actually gets the defence assets they need, both the combat and the utility aircrafts. Another great thing about the utilitarian aircrafts is, in addition to providing national defence, as I think you have seen the marines all around the world, to use it for humanitarian reliefs, so, anytime there is a national disaster, you can use the military assets, to provide foods, supplies and rescue people in need. So, it provides both.

Reporter: what is your assessment about the business environment in Romania? What are the advantages and what are the problems with the business environment?

Mitch Snyder: I do not know any issue with the environment right now, I just think it is going through the process. I think it is fantastic that Romania is, like you said, going to meet the requirement of NATO to 2% from GDP. So, they are going through the process of acquiring these assets and they are following the process with the US government for military sales. So, I do not know of any issues, I think you just have to follow the process, which we are doing.

Reporter: do you see Romania as a stable country, with a stable and predictable government?

Mitch Snyder: I really cannot answer that, I think we are working with the Romanian government and all the interactions have been outstanding. We will continue to work thorough the process with them, and like I said, the fact that they have committed to go through this and follow the process it is working out fine.

Reporter: so, the process until now has been smooth?

Mitch Snyder: Yes, they follow the process just as most countries do, they have asked for pricing and availability, we provided the answer, then they asked for a letter of offer and acceptance and we provided a response. I do not see any difference. I think it has been a good relationship, a strong relationship and we are just going through the process with them.