Leonardo Helicopters has delivered the first of an eventual 16 search and rescue-configured AW101s to Norway.

Acquired under the Norwegian all-weather search and rescue helicopter (NAWSARH) programme, the AW101 departed Leonardo's Yeovil, UK, manufacturing facility on 17 November for Sola air base in southern Norway.

The helicopter will now undergo a period of operational testing and evaluation ahead of service entry with the Royal Norwegian Air Force in 2018.

AW101 Norway delivery

Leonardo Helicopters

Deliveries will continue until 2020, with the 15t rotorcraft deployed across six bases.

Norway’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security is acquiring the AW101s to replace its existing fleet of Westland Sea Kings.

The £1 billion ($1.32 billion) contract includes training and support, and also covers six options.

Crew familiarisation training with an initial pair of helicopters took place at Newquay airport in Cornwall in early October.

Source: FlightGlobal.com