Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated on 14 March 2023 that it will buy six MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky to partially replace its cancelled order for 14 NH Industries NH90s.

The MH-60Rs, which are expected to cost USD 1.1 Bn (EUR 1.02 Bn), are slated to be delivered between 2025 and 2027.

Norway ordered 14 NH90s in 2001, all of which were supposed to be in service by 2008, but cancelled the contract in June 2022, at which point just eight NH90s were fully operational. Reliability, maintenance and obsolescence issues with the NH90s had also reportedly limited the number of flight hours the Norwegian military could undertake with them.

A US Navy MH-60R Seahawk of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 approaches the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Arabian Gulf on 22 October 2020. Norway has chosen the type to replace its cancelled order for 14 NH90s. (Photo: US Navy)

Of the 14 NH90s, six were intended for the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNN) for anti-submarine warfare missions, while the other eight were intended for surveillance and search-and-rescue missions.

The Norwegian MoD stated that the six MH-70Rs would “initially be used by the Coast Guard, but they will also be prepared to be equipped for anti-submarine operations”. Given the smaller fleet compared to the original NH90 buy, Norwegian Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram indicated that some of the original mission set could be addressed by unmanned aerial vehicles.

The requirement for shipborne helicopters to operate from the RNN’s four Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates remains outstanding.

Peter Felstead