Leonardo-Finmeccanica has announced the AgustaWestland AW101 Norwegian all-weather search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter was recently unveiled by Anders Anundsen, Norway’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, during a roll out ceremony held at Leonardo Helicopters’ Yeovil facility in southwest England.
“This roll out ceremony marks the accomplishment of a very important milestone,” said Anundsen. “The helicopter that will be an important and crucial resource for the Norwegian rescue service is now complete and ready for testing. I am very pleased with the effort made by Leonardo Helicopters so far.”
“This aircraft, the latest version of the AW101, can claim to be the world’s most capable and advanced SAR helicopter in the world,” said Daniele Romiti, managing director, Leonardo Helicopters. “The combination of the platform’s large cabin, exceptional performance and all-weather capabilities along with the very latest advanced sensors and mission equipment give the aircraft unmatched capabilities.
“We look forward to starting deliveries next year and the AW101 taking over life-saving duties from the Westland Sea King that has served Norway for more than 40 years, saving thousands of lives.”
Aircraft deliveries to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, who will fly and operate the helicopters, will start in March 2017 and continue through to 2020. As part of the contract, a 15-year “turnkey” support solution will be delivered, comprising spares, technical support and training services.
The aircraft is equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package including Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s newly-launched Osprey active electronically scanned array radar. Based around a flat-panel antenna design, Osprey is the world’s first lightweight airborne surveillance radar to be built with no moving parts and will provide a 360-degree field-of-view for crews.
Other equipment includes a four-axis digital automatic flight control system, two rescue hoists, searchlight, electro optical device, mobile telephone detection system and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.
The aircraft is equipped with advanced systems that enhance flight safety including a Laser Obstacle Avoidance System and Obstacle Proximity LiDAR System, which provide warnings of wires and other obstacles.
The large cabin doors and rear ramp provide easy access for personnel, survivors and equipment into the 27-cubic-meter cabin, which has stand-up head room throughout.
The AW101 benefits from three-engine safety, a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions, long range and endurance, a proven 30-minute “run dry” gearbox as well as multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems.