UPDATE 19 DECEMBER 2013: Norway has ORDERED the Agusta Westland AW101 as its new search-and-rescue helicopter, after preselecting the type on 11 November. The aircraft will replace almost ancient Sea Kings.
“I am very pleased that we are now coming forward in the acquisition process for the new search and rescue helicopters”, the Minister of Justice and Public Security Anders Anundsen states in a press release on 10 November 2013.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security, who selects the rescue helicopter that is operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, has thanked the other three bidders – Eurocopter, NHI and Sikorsky – for their efforts. The aim is that the contract following final negotiations will be concluded by the end of the year. The contract includes 16 new SAR helicopters with an option for further 6, and ensures that the Sea King will be phased out across the country by the end of 2020.
Introduction of the new SAR helicopters will start in 2017. Norway is not the first country using the AW101 as a rescue chopper. The yellow painted aircraft are a common sight in Canadian skies and over North American waters where they are named CH-149 Cormorant.
Source: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet