News story | Date: 15/03/2023 | Ministry of Defence
–The Norwegian government has decided to buy six new maritime helicopters. The first delivery will be in place as early as 2025. This will strengthen national control, the Armed Forces' preparedness and presence in the northern regions, says Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp).
The government has chosen the American MH-60R Seahawk as the new maritime helicopter capacity, replacing the NH90 helicopter which Norway stopped operating in June last year. - In the current security situation, we have put a lot of effort into getting a quick solution to our helicopter situation. The Seahawk is the same type of helicopter used by close allies, and is based on proven technology, Gram says.
Initially, the helicopters will be used by the Norwegian Coast Guard, but they will also be prepared for equipment for anti-submarine operations.
- Maritime helicopter capacity gives the Coast Guard a better ability to ensure national control, exercise authority and to perform search and rescue at sea, says Gram.
Cooperation with Denmark
Denmark has operated Seahawks since 2016. In order to secure and retain important helicopter expertise for Norwegian crews at Bardufoss, the Air Force will send personnel to Denmark, to gain technical and operational expertise on the Seahawk.
- Through this concrete example of Nordic defense cooperation, we gain experience from Denmark before receiving the Seahawks to Norway. This will assist us in gaining full operational capability quicker, says Gram.
Norway has been in close dialogue with the U.S authorities to find solutions for a Norwegian maritime helicopter capacity as soon as possible. Norway will have the opportunity to purchase up to three new helicopters that were intended for the US Navy, with the first delivery of the MH-60R Seahawk expected approximately in the summer of 2025. The Norwegian Seahawks will be stationed at Bardufoss.
In total, Norway is buying six helicopters, due to be delivered from 2025 through 2027. Delivery times requires that Norway signs an agreement with the US in the summer of 2023.
Signing of the contract requires initial approval from the Storting.
The choice of maritime helicopter capacity is included as part of the investment proposal that will be presented to the Storting during the spring session.
The procurement is based on the chief of defense's advice and has an expected cost frame of approximately NOK 12 billion.
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