The decision to enter into final negotiations for procurement of AW101 aircraft was announced Friday by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
The ministry said other contract bidders -- Eurocopter, NHI and Sikorsky – had been informed of the decision.
"I am very pleased that we are now coming forward in the acquisition process for the new search-and-rescue helicopters," Minister of Justice and Public Security Anders Anundsen said.
The AW101 is a medium lift military/civilian use helicopter with a top speed of 192 miles per hour, a range of 517 miles and a flight endurance of five hours.
Norway intends to procure 16 new aircraft -- with an option for six more -- to replace its fleet of Sea King search-and-rescue helicopters, which are to be retired by 2020.