Norway joins the MH-60 Seahawk fraternity
Norway is joining the family of MH-60 operators after the USN placed a US$364.3 million order with Lockheed Martin for six Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission aircraft which will be delivered by 2027.
The aircraft will be dedicated to maritime missions, including search and rescue and coastal and offshore patrol.
Norway’s order marks the second MH-60R contract award in less than a month after the USN placed an order for eight of the same aircraft on behalf of Spain on 12 October with deliveries also expected to be completed in 2027.
The order is to replace 14 NH90 helicopters which were grounded in 2022 after the Norwegian government decided they were not ‘capable of meeting the requirements of the Norwegian Armed Forces’. The Seahawk order was flagged in March in a statement from the Norwegian MoD.
Towards the end of 2022, the Swedish Armed Forces also announced that the country was cancelling its purchase agreement for NH90 maritime helicopters due to problems with the availability of the rotorcraft.
Australia has also opted to move on quickly from one of the NH90 derivatives it operates, the MRH90, and is retiring them early for cost and operational issues and moving on to buying more UH-60 Black Hawks.
In 2021 Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton told media during a visit to Victoria Barracks in Sydney: ‘The Black Hawk makes perfect sense, and they are much cheaper to fly than what the Taipans have been.’
‘The Taipans have been just very unreliable and haven’t lived up to their expectations, and that’s why we will bring that to a close early.’
Sikorsky has delivered 330 MH-60R aircraft to five countries and 64 more are on order or in production for India, Greece, South Korea, Australia, Spain and Norway.
More from Air Warfare
The UK MoD has confirmed the selection of the BAE Systems Sting Ray Mod 1 torpedo as the future torpedo capability for its P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) fleet, alongside the US Navy's Mk54 weapon.
Canada will purchase 14 Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft to replace its ageing CP-140 Aurora fleet, joining Australia, New Zealand, US and UK as an operator of the aircraft type.
Germany has given the green light to replace its Tornado ECR aircraft with Eurofighter Typhoon EK, a dedicated variant for electronic combat and SEAD.
Spain’s MoD has signed a deal with Airbus for a new multirole UAS which will be ITAR-free and primarily designed for ISTAR operations. It has been planned for service with Spain, Colombia and Serbia.
The US Air Force has ordered more Pegasus KC-46A multi-mission aerial refuelling aircraft with advanced communications and data connectivity.