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Sweden completes NH90 SAR upgrade

Sweden has now received back into service seven NH90 search-and-rescue helicopters following an upgrade programme. (Swedish Air Force)

Sweden has received back into service the final NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 – Helikopter (HKP) 14 in national service – search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter upgraded to the final operating capability (FOC) standard.

NHI announced the milestone on 5 December, saying the last of seven SAR-configured NH90 Tactical Troop Transport (TTT) helicopters to be upgraded in partnership with Patria had been delivered back to the Swedish Armed Forces some days earlier on 30 November.

The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) fields 18 NH90 TTT – a designation given when the Nordic Standard Helicopter Project with Finland and Norway was launched in 2001 – with 11 HKP 14Fs being rolled for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and seven HKP 14Es for SAR.

Sweden's NH90s are of a bespoke high-cabin configuration – the split between the ASW and SAR roles has changed since deliveries were launched in 2011, as the country's operational objectives shifted back more towards ASW as relations with Russia have deteriorated.

In the SAR role, the Swedish NH90s are equipped with twin rescue hoists as a result of lessons learned from the Estonia passenger ferry disaster in 1994, when a number of helicopters suffered malfunctions in their single hoist systems, hampering the rescue effort that night. They also have the capability for internal and sling loaded cargo, including ‘Bambi buckets' for firefighting.

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