Norway choses MH-60R Seahawk as the new maritime helicopter

On 15th March 2023, the Norwegian government officially announced that the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk was selected as the country´s new maritime helicopter. It was also confirmed that the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence follows to order six rotorcraft of that type, to replace the recently withdrawn NH90 platform.

In June of 2022 we have informed about the decision of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence to terminate the contract for NH90 deliveries, as well as to cancel introduction of that rotorcraft into the Norwegian armed forces. It was already clear that, following implementation of that decision, the Norwegian government would look after any quick solutions to solve the current helicopter crisis. And the MH-60R Seahawk was already mentioned as one of the preferred options.

According to official information, deliveries of the first MH-60R helicopters are expected to commence as early as 2025. Initially, the new rotorcraft will be operated by the Norwegian Coast Guard. Nevertheless, the Seahawks will also have the ability to perform anti-submarine operations.

´This (delivery of the MH-60R) will strengthen national control, the Armed Forces’ preparedness and presence in the northern regions,´ said Bjørn Arild Gram, the Minister of Defence. ´Maritime helicopter capacity gives the Coast Guard a better ability to ensure national control, exercise authority and to perform search and rescue at sea,´ – he added.

A NH-60R Seahawk of the Royal Danish Air Force – exercise Joint Viking 2023, illustrative photo (photo: Maria Selnes / Forsvaret, © Royal Norwegian Armed Forces / Forsvaret)

In order to secure quick implementation of the new type of rotorcraft, the Royal Norwegian Air Force will send its personnel to Denmark, to gain technical and operational experience on the Seahawk. Denmark operated the MH-60R since 2016 and, within the Nordic defence cooperation, agreed to assist Norway in achieving full operational capability significantly quicker . If finally purchased, the Norwegian Seahawk would be stationed at Bardufoss air base.

The Deliveries of the six Norwegian MH-60R helicopters are planned for years 2025 – 2027, subject to the condition that purchase is approved by Parliament of Norway and final agreement with the US government signed not later than in summer of 2023. The Norwegian parliament will discuss the acquirement of the MH-60R during its spring session.

The estimated value of the contract for deliveries of the six Seahawk helicopters is approximately twelve billion NOK. 

The Sikorsky SH-60 / MH-60 Seahawk is a family of maritime multi-mission helicopters based on the UH-60 Black Hawk design and introduced into operational service in 1984. The rotorcraft is currently operated by fifteen navies and air forces around the world. In Europe, helicopters from that family are used by the Hellenic Navy, the Royal Danish Air Force and the Spanish Navy. Until today, there were approximately 950 examples of all the Seahawk variants built.

A Japan Maritime Self Defense Force SH-60J Seahawk helicopter lands on the flight deck of the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), illustrative photo (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Declan Barnes)

Cover photo: MH-60R Sea Hawk assigned to the ´Spartans´ of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron 70, during At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021, US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan T. Beard, © U.S. Department of Defence (DoD).
Information from the Royal Norwegian Armed Forces and Norvegian Government press materials were used.