The AgustaWestland AW101 Norwegian All-Weather SAR Helicopter (NAWSARH) was unveiled on 31st May by Anders Anundsen, Norway’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, during a rollout ceremony held at Leonardo Helicopters’ Yeovil facility in south-west England. The aircraft had made its first flight several weeks earlier, on 21st March.
Aircraft deliveries to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which will fly and operate the helicopters, will start in March 2017. The helicopters will be deployed at the RNAF No.330 squadron’s six bases at Sola, Ørland, Banak, Bodø, Rygge and Florø by 2020. As part of the contract, a fifteen year “turnkey” support solution will be delivered, comprising spares, technical support and training services.
The aircraft — which takes over duties from the Westland Sea King — is equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package including Leonardo-Finmeccanica's newly-launched Osprey AESA radar. Based around a flat-panel antenna design providing a 360° field of view, Osprey is billed as the world’s first lightweight airborne surveillance radar to be built with no moving parts. Other equipment includes a four-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), two rescue hoists, searchlight, electro optical device, mobile telephone detection system and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.