Behold of the new police support helicopter of Norway. That is, if negotiations will be brought to a positive end. Sikorsky S-92s (pictured) as well as Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopters Super Pumas might in the near future be “deputy sherrif” of the richest Scandinavian country.
New to Norway is that – for the first time – the Norwegian police is now allowed to use civilian helicopters to perform its duties. Justice minister Anders Anundsen has given the green light this week for Northern (Nord-Norge) and Western Norway (Vestlandet), where thin-spread police units have to cover hundreds of miles by car only, with response times of several hours in mountainous and sometimes challenging terrain.
The Norwegian government now started talks with state oil and gas company Statoil about sharing the chopper fleet with the police. Statoil buys its heli services from the CHC Helicopters and the Bristow Group. According to published statistics the Norwegian branch of Canadian CHC flies 12 S-92s and up to 21 Super Pumas of various versions. Bristow Norway operates up to 15 S-92s and 2 EC225 Super Pumas, after the British company purchased the then Norsk Helikopter in 2009. If one or both companies agree to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies as well, the police will have relatively easy access to rotary wing for support in relatively remote regions.
The air wing of the Norwegian police consists of only two Eurocopter EC135s (H135) based at Oslo-Gardermoen. The Royal Norwegian Air Force does support the police with four of nine Bell 412SPs based at Rygge Airbase south of Oslo standing by, with the same situation at Bardufoss Airbase in the far north. For search and rescue duties a dozen Westland Sea King Mk 43s are spread across the country (check overview here), but they are meant to serve in the search-and-rescue/medical role only.
Once deals have been made the use of civilian helicopters by the Norwegian police will end more than 15 years of debate about the low availability of air support to the nation’s law enforcement units.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger