The Norwegian Ministry of Justice & Public Security has begun taking delivery of its new batch of Leonardo AW101s. The first arrived in southern Norway Nov. 17.
This is the first of 16 AW101s that the ministry plans to use for search and rescue. The aircraft is currently at Sola Air Base, where it is to undergo operational test and evaluation. It is set to enter service with the Royal Norwegian Air Force next year.
“The AW101 we have developed for Norway is undoubtedly the world’s most capable SAR helicopter and it is with great pride that we have delivered the first aircraft that will serve the people of Norway for decades to come,” said Jon Clark, Leonardo’s program manager. “This contract is very much a long term partnership, consisting of industry, the Ministry of Justice & Public Security, the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, which has a common goal to deliver a SAR service second to none — we are all looking forward to the aircraft entering operational service in 2018.”
Leonardo said the aircraft is equipped with an advanced search and rescue equipment package. It includes a multi-panel Osprey active electronically scanned array surveillance radar system from Leonardo that provides 360-deg coverage, four-axis digital automatic flight control system, two rescue hoists, searchlight, electro-optical device, and a fully integrated avionics and mission system. It also features a mobile telephone detection system, obstacle proximity warning system, weather radar, complete medical station and mission console.
The deal also covers initial support and training services, provided by Leonardo. This includes spares at each of the operating bases. The initial group of aircrew has already completed aircrew training. An AW101 full flight simulator was commissioned in June 2017 at Sola Airport to provide training for aircrew in advance of aircraft deliveries. It is to be used by Norwegian aircrew and third parties.
The airframer is also to provide performance-based logistic support to deliver some 90,000 flying hours across the fleet of 16 helicopters over the initial 15-year period. Leonardo teamed with AIM Aviation to provide maintenance services at the Air Force’s bases. A partnership with Kongsberg Defence Systems provides transmission repair and overhaul services in Norway.
Deliveries are scheduled to continue through to 2020. The aircraft would deploy across each of the six main operating bases.