The Norwegian All Weather Search And Rescue Helicopter Project.

AgustaWestland AW 101 – Norges nye redningshelikopter
Credit: AgustaWestland


The Ministry of Justice and Public Security has awarded AgustaWestland Ltd. the contract for the delivery of new search and rescue helicopters to replace the current Sea King.

AgustaWestland AW 101 is the candidate that in total, after intensive negotiations, best meets the demands for Norway's future SAR helicopter.

The contract was awarded on 4 December 2013, and signed on the 19th the same month.

The new helicopters will be able to relieve significantly more people in distress, be noticeably faster and with longer range than today – under virtually all weather conditions. Additionally, search capability and the possibility for medical treatment are significantly improved.

Project timeline

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MoJ) decided 25 October 2007 to appoint a project to prepare a possible replacement of the Westland Sea King SAR helicopters operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF). The project was located at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center at Sola airport near the city of Stavanger.

The project is managed by the MoJ in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health and Care Services and is permanently manned by personnel from MoJ. Additionally, personnel with special competence within aviation technical areas, flight operations, HEMS, legal and finance is participating on demand in the project's different phases. Among these personnel are also specialists from the RNoAF and the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organization (NDLO).

The project was initially tasked to prepare a conceptual solution with a recommendation for a new SAR helicopter through a pre-study or feasibility study (completed fall 2010). The study should then be developed and submitted for decision on a procurement solution through a pre-project (completed spring 2011). Both phases were subject to an external quality assurance process ("KS1" and "KS2").

Based on the feasibility study and the pre-project work, the Government submitted on 24.6.2011 the Proposition 146 (2010-2011) "Acquisition of new SAR helicopters etc. in the period 2013 - 2020." This was debated in the Parliament 6.12.2011, cf. Recommendation to the Storting 82 S (2011-2012), who decided that the Ministry of Justice and Public Security was to initiate a procurement process.

The procurement process for new SAR helicopters was initiated in autumn 2011 with pre-qualification of suppliers and during summer 2012, the tender documents were released. Four qualified providers – AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, NHI and Sikorsky – submitted their bids on 18 December 2012.

It was 21 December 2012 signed a contract with Lufttransport AS for delivery of a helicopter service to Svalbard from 1 April 2014. The NAWSARH project has been responsible for the acquisition process and assists the Governor in the realization of the service.

The Search and Rescue Helicopter Service

Rescue services can be defined as the publicly organised action that is effectuated to rescue people from death or injury following accidents or other dangerous situations both at sea and on land, and which are not maintained by specific organs or as a result of specific actions.

The Search and Rescue Helicopter Service is a dedicated resource within the publicly organised Search and Rescue Service, fully financed on the national budget and part of the Ministry of Justice’s portfolio.

The Search and Rescue Services is operated by the 330 squadron of the Defence.Prioritised missions for the Search and Rescue Helicopter Service is Search and Rescue (SAR), airborne ambulance and preventive Search and Rescue Services.