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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

24 March 2016

Successful Maiden Flight of RNoAF AW101

The first of 16 Finmeccanica Helicopters (then AgustaWestland) AW101 helicopters for the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MoJ) successfully performed its maiden flight at its Helicopter Division’s Yeovil factory in the UK on 21 March 2016, marking a major milestone and the start of the flight test programme that will lead to initial aircraft deliveries to the MoJ, for operation by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (Luftforsvaret), in 2017. Aircraft deliveries will continue through to 2020.

First of sixteen AW101 helicopters for the Norwegian Government makes successful maiden flight. (Photo: Finmeccanica)
I am very pleased that Finmeccanica has reached this important milestone in the SAR helicopter project and thereby making good progress for the replacement of the aging Sea KINGhelicopter with the new state-ofthe-art AW101 by 2020,” Minister of Justice and Public Security, Anders Anundsen, told MT. “I would furthermore like to bring my sincere gratitude to the dedicated and hardworking team at the company who have made this first flight possible in time.”

In December 2013 the Norwegian MoJ signed a contract for 16 AW101 helicopters plus support and training, to meet the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter (NAWSARH) requirement based on a new generation aircraft. Each aircraft is provided with an advanced SAR equipment package including a multi-panel AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) surveillance radar system from Finmeccanica Airborne & Space Systems (then Selex ES), built at the company’s Edinburgh centre of excellence, that provides 360° coverage. 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.

Finmeccanica’s Helicopter Division will provide initial support and training services, including spares at each of the aircraft 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 of operation. In support of pilot training, a full flight simulator will be available in Norway in advance of the delivery of the first aircraft.