Norway close to deal for 16 AugustaWestland helicopters


OSLO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Norway is in final negotiations withAugustaWestland, a unit of Italian defence group Finmeccanica, to buy 16 search-and-rescue helicopters for use from2017, the country's justice and public security ministry said onFriday.

The other bidders were Franco-German group Eurocopter, aunit of EADS, European defence group NHIndustries andSikorsky, a unit of United Technologies Corp, theministry said.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. The Norwegiangovernment will have an option to buy a further six helicopters.

New aircraft are to replace the existing fleet of Sea Kinghelicopters by 2020.

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