Other significant improvements provided by the AW101 over the Sea King include a 30kt (55km/h) increase in cruise speed, increased mission range, endurance and survivor capacity and the capability to operate in harsh weather including continuous icing conditions.
Royal Norwegian Air Force AW101S will be equipped with an advanced SAR equipment package which includes a multi-panel AESA surveillance radar system, 4-axis digital AFCS, two rescue hoists, searchlight, an electro-optical imaging system and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.
Stretcher and passenger capacity is significantly greater for the AW101 which will prove vital during emergency evacuations for up to 54 persons.
One cabin configuration option is to carry more than one critically ill patient in a treatment area that can be compartmentalised. The stretcher layout provides sufficient room for two plus a full range of medical equipment with room for easy access. The AW101 can be quickly re-roled and equipment can be removed and replaced with seats of equipment.
The AW101's in-built cabin flexibility supports the diverse range of missions anticipated once in service.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force's AW101 s will have to meet the same 99% availability rate currently achieved by the Sea Kings, one of which is seen here hovering over MS Bohus during Exercise Skagex.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force’s fleet of 12 Sea King Mk 43Bs has rescued over 33,000 people since the type was introduced in 1972.