Norwegian government, AgustaWestland sign AW101 SAR deal
Dec. 19, 2013, Oslo, Nor. - AgustaWestland has announced it has been awarded a contract for 16 AW101 helicopters plus support and training, valued at approximately $1 billion (€1.15 billion), to meet the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter (NAWSARH) requirement. The contract also includes an option for six further aircraft.
By Carey Fredericks
The contract was signed at the end of a meticulous selection process that took into account technical features as well as risks and cost evaluations. The AW101 emerged once again as the best solution to meet the stringent requirements issued by the committee tasked with the selection. The AW101 benefits from three-engine safety, a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions, long range and endurance, a proven 30 minute “run dry” gearbox as well as multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems.
The contract signing ceremony was held in Olso today in the presence of Anders Anundsen, minister of justice and public security, and Daniele Romiti, CEO of AgustaWestland.
Aircraft deliveries to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which will fly and operate the helicopters, will start in 2017 and continue through to 2020. The aircraft will be assembled at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the U.K.
As part of the contract, a 15-year “turnkey” support solution will be delivered, comprising spares and technical support and training services, with an option for it to be extended for a further five years.
Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s CEO said: “We are delighted that the AW101 has been awarded the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter contract following a very detailed evaluation process of all the alternatives. The new generation AW101 will bring new capabilities and is a worthy successor to the AgustaWestland Sea King which has successfully served Norway for more than 40 years.
“The AW101 is recognized around the world as the most capable and advanced helicopter in its class and has proven its outstanding all weather and long range SAR abilities in service with the Royal Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Danish Air Force and Portuguese Air Force. Furthermore, the success reaffirms AgustaWestland’s excellence as a provider of advanced rotorcraft and comprehensive support solutions.”
“I am very pleased with signing the contract for new rescue helicopters” says the minister of justice and public security, Anders Anundsen. “This ensures a significantly improved safety for people at sea, along the coast and in remote areas around the country. The new helicopters will be able to rescue significantly more people in distress, be noticeably faster and with longer range than today – under virtually all weather conditions. Additionally, search capability and the possibility for medical treatment are significantly improved.”
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This deal between AgustaWestland and the Norwegian Government is testament to the first class engineering skills we have right across the U.K., while highlighting that this Government’s long-term economic plan is working. Safeguarding over 3,000 jobs across their Yeovil plant and many more across the SME supply chain, this is a hugely significant order which demonstrates why drumming up jobs and investment for our country from overseas investors is crucial to rebalancing the U.K. economy. We’ve got our sights focused on helping more innovative British firms across the country compete in the global race and ensuring that more people share in our economic success.”
The aircraft will be equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package including a multi-panel AESA surveillance radar system from Selex ES that provides 360° coverage, 4-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), two rescue hoists, searchlight, electro optical device and a fully integrated avionics and mission system. The large cabin doors and rear ramp provide easy access for personnel, survivors and equipment into the 27 m3 cabin which has stand-up head room throughout.
AgustaWestland will provide initial support and training services, including spares at each of the operating bases and aircrew training. It will then provide performance based logistic support to deliver approximately 90,000 flying hours across the fleet of 16 helicopters over the initial 15-year period. In support of pilot training a full flight simulator will be available in Norway in 2016 in advance of the delivery of the first aircraft.
AgustaWestland has partnered with Norwegian companies AIM Aviation to provide maintenance services at the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s operating bases and with Kongsberg Defence Systems to provide helicopter transmission repair and overhaul services.