OSLO, Norway, July 10 (UPI) -- AgustaWestland and Eurocopter have been short-listed by Norway to produce as many as 22 search-and-rescue helicopters.
The helicopters would replace the government's current Sea King helicopter fleet, which will be phased out by the end of 2020.
According to Norway's Ministry of Justice and Public Security, additional negotiations will now be held with the two companies before the contract is awarded by the end of this year.
Other contract bidders have been informed of the decision but also told they could be considered again "if, for some reason, one of the remaining participants withdraws, or any other reason necessitates to call on a rejected bidder to sustain a competitive environment."
The contract, when awarded, will be for 16 aircraft with an option for six more.
The bidding process began in late 2011 with a pre-qualification process that eventually produced four offers from industry. Details on the offers were not disclosed.