Romania’s state-owned aerospace manufacturer IAR is building on its partnership with French aircraft manufacturer Airbus with an agreement to extend its service contract for the H215 M helicopters from five to 15 years.

Under the new deal, announced on Aug. 24, IAR will become the prime contractor for the H215M and will carry out all future orders as the Romanian Ministry of Defence works to replace its helicopter fleet.

The memorandum of cooperation was finalized during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Bucharest with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis the week of Aug. 20.

“We are proud to have extended this agreement as a result of a long term trust between IAR and Airbus Helicopters,” General Director of IAR Neculai Banea said in a statement. “IAR has built over 360 helicopters under Airbus Helicopters’ license over the past decades, which makes us confident in the future success of the H215M.”

IAR, with support from Airbus Helicopters Romania, will handle the production, assembly, customization and maintenance services for the H215M multi-role helicopter for use by the Romanian Armed Forces.

“Our goal of delivering superior value for our Romanian customers by offering the most complete line of products and services underlines Airbus’ unfaltering commitment to Romania. Each major Airbus business unit contributes directly to the strengthening of the European defence industrial base. Today Airbus already accounts for over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in Romania, through its divisions, Helicopters and Defence and Space, Commercial Airplanes with Premium Aerotec, as well as industrial partners like Aerostar, Turbomecanica, Aeroteh, Aerofina, etc., making the company the largest aerospace investor in the country,” Airbus Helicopters Senior Vice President and Head of Europe Region Olivier Michalon said in a statement.

Airbus and IAR will conduct work on the H215M helicopters from a factory in Brasov, Romania.