BAN's World GazetteerItaly
The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MoJ) has taken delivery of the first of 16 AW101 helicopters from Leonardo. The first aircraft departed Leonardo's Yeovil facility in November for Sola Air Base in southern Norway, where it has entered operational testing and evaluation ahead of a planned entry into service in 2018 with the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The aircraft will be delivered up until 2020 and will be engaged in SAR operations across six main bases.
MoJ project manager Bjorn Ivar Aarseth says: “The delivery of the first aircraft marks a major milestone for the Norwegian All-Weather SAR programme and everyone is delighted to see the first AW101 in Norway. I would like to congratulate my team in the Ministry of Justice, key contributors within the Norwegian Defence sector, Leonardo and all other industry partners on achieving this milestone.”
Leonardo programme manager Jon Clark adds: “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 a machine that will serve Norway for decades to come. This contract is a long-term partnership.”
The AW101 has three engines, a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions, long range and endurance, a 30-minute 'run dry' gearbox and multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems. Its large cabin doors and rear ramp provide access into a 27 sqm cabin that has stand-up headroom throughout.
The aircraft is also equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package including a multi-panel Osprey AESA surveillance radar system from Leonardo that provides 360° coverage, a four-axis digital automatic flight control system, two rescue hoists, a searchlight, an electro optical device and a fully integrated avionics and mission system. Weather radar and a complete medical station are also included.
Leonardo is providing initial support and training services, including spares at each of the operating bases and has recently completed the aircrew training for the initial group. It will then provide performance-based logistical support to deliver approximately 90,000 flying hours across the fleet over 15 years. Leonardo has partnered with Norwegian company AIM Aviation to provide maintenance services at the Royal Norwegian Air Force's six operating bases and with Kongsberg Defence Systems to provide helicopter transmission repair and overhaul services in Norway.
An AW101 full flight simulator was commissioned in June 2017 at Sola airport to provide in-country training in advance of aircraft deliveries.