The Norwegian government has selected the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk as the replacement for the NH90 helicopter, which Norway ceased operating in June of last year.
The Norwegian Coast Guard will be the primary user of the helicopters at first, but the helicopters will also be outfitted with anti-submarine equipment.
Norway has chosen the Seahawk after deciding in June 2022 to return all of NH90 helicopters to NATO Helicopter Industries (NHI) after years of delays, and maintenance and availability issues.
To ensure that valuable helicopter expertise is maintained for Norwegian crews based in Bardufoss, the Air Force plans to send 17 employees to Denmark to gain technical and operational knowledge about the Seahawk.
Denmark has been operating Seahawk helicopters since 2016.
“The Seahawk is the same type of helicopter used by close allies and consists of proven technology,” says Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram. He also added, “Maritime helicopter capacity gives the Coast Guard a better ability to ensure national control, to exercise authority and to search and rescue at sea.”
Norway expects to receive the new helicopter as early as 2025.
The MH-60R Seahawk helicopter is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. It has a speed of 180 knots (267km/h) and is equipped with a cargo hook that can support a weight of 2,721.55 kg (6,000 lb). According to the company, the helicopter has reached a milestone of over 600,000 global fleet hours with more than 300 operations worldwide.