Finmeccanica announced today the first of 16 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 21st March 2016.

The successful on-schedule maiden flight marks a major milestone and the start of the flight test program that will lead to initial aircraft deliveries to the MoJ, for operation by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, in 2017. Aircraft deliveries will continue through to 2020.

“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 King helicopter with the new state-of-the-art AW101 by 2020,” says the Minister of Justice and Public Security, Mr. Anders Anundsen. “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.”

Program Highlights

  • A major milestone for the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter program that features an innovative search and rescue configuration
  • The helicopters will be delivered to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security with state-of-the-art equipment, including an all new Finmeccanica radar system
  • The Ministry will take delivery of 16 AW101s for operation by the Royal Norwegian Air Force starting in 2017
  • Over 220 AW101s sold to customers worldwide to date for various roles

In December 2013 the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security 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 Division, 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.

Finmeccanica is among the top ten global players in Aerospace, Defence and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. As of 31 December 2014, Finmeccanica recorded restated consolidated revenues of 12.8 billion Euros and has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the UK and the U.S.