The AW101 helicopters will be used in search-and-rescue missions and features 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 and multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems.
The aircraft will also be equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package, including a multi-panel AESA surveillance radar system from Selex ES that provides 360-degree coverage, a four-axis digital automatic flight control system, two rescue hoists, a searchlight and an electro-optical device.
"We are delighted that the AW101 has been awarded the Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter contract following a very detailed evaluation process of all the alternatives," said Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland's chief executive officer. "The new generation AW101 will bring new capabilities and is a worthy successor to the AgustaWestland Sea King, which has successfully served Norway for more than 40 years.
"The AW101 is recognized around the world as the most capable and advanced helicopter in its class and has proven its outstanding all weather and long-range SAR abilities in service with the royal Canadian armed forces, royal Danish air force and Portuguese air force."
Delivery of AW101s, to be assembled at the company's facility in Britain, to the royal Norwegian air force will begin in 2017 and continue through to 2020.
The contract for the aircraft includes an option for six additional aircraft and a 15-year support package for spare parts, technical support and training services.
The support package includes a five-year extension option, AgustaWestland said.
"I am very pleased with signing the contract for new rescue helicopters," Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security Anders Anundsen said at a contract signing in Oslo Thursday. "This ensures significantly improved safety for people at sea, along the coast and in remote areas around the country.
"The new helicopters will be able to rescue 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."
AgustaWestland said it will provide initial support and training services, including spares at each of the aircraft's operating bases in Norway. Included will be a flight simulator, which will be delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force in 2016.
AgustaWestland has partnered with Norway's AIM Aviation to provide maintenance services at the Royal Norwegian Air Force's operating bases and with Kongsberg Defense Systems to provide helicopter transmission repair and overhaul services.
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