New Norwegian AW101 SAR Helos Receive Advanced Leonardo-Finmeccanica Radar

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

On May 31, Leonardo-Finmeccanica introduced the AgustaWestland AW101 Norwegian all-weather search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter.  The new helicopter was unveiled by Anders Anundsen, Norway’s minister of justice and public security, during a rollout ceremony at Leonardo Helicopter’s Yeovil, England, facility.

While the helicopter’s unveiling was newsworthy in and of itself, another interesting piece of information was revealed about the AW101’s equipment set.  Norway’s helicopters will be among some of the first platforms to receive one of Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s most recent radar developments.

Norway’s new AW101 helicopters will feature a full SAR equipment package, including two rescue hoists, a four-axis automatic flight control system (AFCS), a searchlight, an electro-optical package, a mobile telephone detection system, and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.  The particularly noteworthy item included among this equipment is Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s new Osprey active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

The Osprey features a flat-panel antenna design that, despite containing no moving parts, is capable of a full 360-degree field of view.  Leonardo-Finmeccanica says that the Osprey is the first lightweight airborne surveillance radar in the world to feature this kind of capability.

Norway’s AW101s will also be equipped with enhanced flight safety features that include a laser obstacle avoidance system (LOAM) and an obstacle proximity LIDAR system (OPLS), both of which provide warnings of wires and other obstacles.

AW101 deliveries to the Royal Norwegian Air Force will start in March 2017 and continue to 2020.  Electronics equipment deliveries will precede aircraft deliveries by at least three months.  Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s contract with Norway also provides 15-year turnkey support services, including spares, technical support, and training services.

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FI’s eight Electronic Systems Market Intelligence Services cover the full range of defense-related systems and programs in the radar, communications, electro-optical, and electronic warfare markets, presenting a comprehensive market outlook for current equipment as well as new systems being developed as the modern battlefield moves toward a technology-based warfare approach with network-centric capabilities.

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