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Norway joins the MH-60 Seahawk fraternity

27th October 2023 - 16:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Five countries operate the MH-60R, including the US, and Norway has now joined the club. (Photo: USN)

Norway joins five operators of the MH-60 naval helicopter plus Spain, which ordered its first eight MH-60R aircraft earlier this month, and Greece, which is yet to receive its first example.

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.

The Shephard News Team


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