Norway has selected the AW101, built by Italy's AgustaWestland, as its new search-and-rescue helicopter, turning down candidates from Eurocopter, Sikorsky and NHIndustries. (AgustaWestland)
ROME — Norway has selected AgustaWestland to supply new search-and-rescue helicopters in a deal that could be worth more than €1 billion and include more than 16 AW101 helicopters.
An announcement on a Norwegian government website on Nov. 8 stated that Norway had “decided to commence final negotiations with the company AgustaWestland Ltd. for the delivery of new search and rescue helicopters to replace the current Sea King.”
AgustaWestland defeated competition from Eurocopter, as well as Europe’s NHIndustries and US maker Sikorsky.
“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 a further 6, and ensures that the Sea King will be phased out across the country by the end of 2020,” the statement said.
AgustaWestland’s AW101 was chosen after the acquisition process started in October 2011, with tender documents released in July 2012 and offers received last December.
The first new helicopters will be introduced in 2017, the statement said.
The helicopters are expected to be initially managed by the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, with other services able to access them.