US State Department approves FMS to Norway of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters

According to information published by the US DoD on April 26, 2023, the State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Norway of MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1 billion.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 MH-60H Seahawk helicopter. (Picture source: Australian MoD)

The sale includes six MH-60R helicopters, engines, radios, sonars, identification and countermeasures equipment, and other support and logistics services.

US-Norway relations

The military relations between the United States and Norway have a long and rich history dating back to the aftermath of World War II. Norway's defence policy evolved from a focus on neutrality to a reliance on collective defence through NATO and bilateral support from close allies like the US.

As the only NATO member bordering the Soviet Union in the High North, Norway's strategic significance to NATO's "northern flank" increased over time. This led to the US and NATO developing new strategies for countering Soviet missile submarines, such as placing aircraft carriers in Norwegian fjords to reduce Soviet military installations on the Kola Peninsula.

Recent calls for reviewing NATO's adequacy for countering potential Russian aggression along the 'northern flank' have put Norway's strategic concerns into sharp relief.

Norway's investment in American-dependent force structure, such as the Skjold class missile boats and the F-35 stealth fighter, illustrates the importance of the US-Norway military relationship for Norway's national security.

About the MH-60R

The MH-60R Seahawk is a versatile helicopter designed and manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Lockheed Martin Systems in the United States. It entered service in 2009 and has a crew of four to five men.

The helicopter measures 19.76 meters in length, has a main rotor diameter of 16.35 meters, and stands at 5.1 meters tall. It has a maximum take-off weight of 10.68 tonnes and is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines.

The MH-60R Seahawk has a maximum speed of 267 kilometers per hour and a cruising speed of 234 kilometers per hour. It has a service ceiling of 3.4 kilometers and a range of 454 kilometers. Its endurance is up to 3 hours and 30 minutes, and it can carry up to five passengers.

The helicopter has a payload capacity of 1.8 tonnes internally and 2.7 tonnes externally. It can be armed with one 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun and can carry two AGM-119B Penguin anti-ship missiles or four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. It can also carry torpedoes such as the Mk.46, Mk.50, or Mk.54.

The MH-60R Seahawk is used for various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, communications relay, combat search and rescue, naval gunfire support, and logistics support. It has replaced the fleet’s legacy SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft and is a cornerstone of the Navy’s Helicopter Concept of Operations.