Newly Delivered SAR AW101 Crashes in Norway

The Royal Norwegian Air Force AW101s will operate the new helicopters, which are replacing Sikorsky Sea Kings currently in service.

A  Leonardo Helicopters AW101 recently delivered to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice & Public Security rolled over during a maintenance ground run, causing substantial damage. The helicopter was the first of 16 AW101s for Norway’s all-weather search-and-rescue (SAR) program. The Royal Norwegian Air Force will operate the new AW101s, which are replacing Sikorsky Sea Kings.

The accident aircraft departed Leonardo’s Yeovil, UK facility on November 17 for Sola Air Base in southern Norway, where the helicopters will undergo a period of operational test and evaluation before entering service across six main operating bases. Service entry was slated for next year, but this is now uncertain in the aftermath of the crash. Deliveries are still expected to continue through 2020.

Leonardo is providing related services, including initial support and training, spares at each operating base, and performance-based logistic support for up to 90,000 flight hours for the fleet over 15 years. An AW101 full flight simulator was commissioned in June at Sola to provide in-country crew training and also will be available to third parties.

Norway’s AW101s are equipped with an advanced SAR package, including a multi-panel Osprey AESA surveillance radar system from Leonardo that provides 360-degree coverage; a four-axis digital automatic flight control system; two rescue hoists; searchlight; electro-optical device; and a fully integrated avionics and mission system. Other systems and equipment include a mobile telephone detection system, obstacle proximity warning system, weather radar, complete medical station, and mission console.

The tri-engine AW101 features full anti-icing systems for flight into known icing, a 30-minute run-dry main gearbox, stand-up cabin, and a rear loading ramp. More than 220 have been ordered worldwide.