Leonardo has delivered the first of 16 AW101 all-weather search and rescue helicopters the Norwegian Ministry of Justice & Public Security.
The aircraft departed Leonardo’s Yeovil facility on November 17th for Sola Air Base in southern Norway where the aircraft will enter a period of Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) before entering service with the Royal Norwegian Air Force in 2018, the company said in a statement Monday.
Aircraft deliveries will continue through to 2020 with SAR operations being established with the aircraft deployed across each of the six main operating bases.
“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. The aircraft will enter operational service in 2018,” Jon Clark, Leonardo’s Programme Manager said.
The AW101s will be operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force and replace the Sea King helicopters currently in service.