The Norwegian government has decided to buy new maritime helicopters, with the first delivery taking place as early as 2025. This will strengthen national sovereignty, the Armed Forces’ preparedness and presence in the northern regions. The Norwegian government has chosen the American Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk utility maritime helicopter as its new maritime helicopter capacity. The new helicopters replace the NH90 utility maritime helicopter which was grounded in June last year. The helicopters will initially be used for the Coast Guard, but they will also be prepared for equipment for anti-submarine operations.
“In the current security situation, we have put a lot of effort into getting a quick solution to the helicopter situation in place. The Seahawk is the same type of helicopter used by close allies and consists of proven technology. Maritime helicopter capacity gives the Coast Guard a better ability to ensure national control, to exercise authority and to search and rescue at sea. Through this concrete example of Nordic defense cooperation, we gain experience from Denmark before phasing in Norway. It will help us to gain full operational capability more quickly when we receive our helicopters,” says Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp).
Since Royal Danish Air Force operates the same helicopter, Norwegian crews will train there to prepare for the delivery of the Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk utility maritime helicopter in 2025-27. (Photo by Danish Navy)
Denmark has operated the Seahawk since 2016. In order to secure and retain the important helicopter expertise of the crews at Bardufoss, the Air Force will send personnel to Denmark to build up technical and operational expertise on maritime helicopter operations on the Seahawk. In the defense sector, there has been close dialogue with the American authorities to find solutions for a Norwegian maritime helicopter capability as quickly as possible. Norway will first have the opportunity to purchase up to three new helicopters that were intended for the US Navy.
The first delivery of the MH-60R Seahawk will be in place from the summer of 2025. The future base for the Seahawk will be at Bardufoss. In total, Norway is buying six helicopters, which are to be delivered in the period 2025 to 2027. Delivery times assume that Norway enters into an agreement with the American authorities in the summer of 2023. The signing of the contract requires the Storting to approve the project. The choice of maritime helicopter capability is included as part of the investment proposal that will be presented to the Storting during the spring session. The procurement is based on the chief of defense’s advice and has an expected cost frame of approximately NOK 12 billion (approx. $1.1 billion)