Leonardo (ex-Finmeccanica) has announced that Norway has become the launch customer for its Osprey electronically scanning (E-scan) radar which will equip AW101s for the Norway All Weather Search and Rescue Helicopter (NAWSARH) programme. Leonardo claims that the Osprey E-Scan radar is the first lightweight airborne surveillance radar to provide a 360 degree field of view without moving parts.
The first of Norway’s 16 AW101s made its maiden flight at Yeovil in the UK on 21st March. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2017, continuing through 2020. The intial contract was signed in December 2013.
Leonardo says that Osprey’s flat panel design makes it suitable for installation on aircraft previously deemed unable to carry such a class of radar, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In its configuration for NAWSARH, Osprey comprises three flat panels, one on the front of the helicopter and two at the rear, facing out at angles to create the 360 degree field of regard. Space requirements are minimal and the helicopter’s belly is left clear, maximizing ground clearance for challenging rescue landings on rough terrain.
Designed and manufactured in the UK at Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s Edinburgh site, Osprey was developed via inward investment from the company in radar technology and expertise. Osprey will be sold alongside the company’s Seaspray family of E-Scan radars, which are in service with the Royal Navy and with a number of export customers including the United States Coast Guard.