We wish to congratulate you on your recent appointment as ambassador and welcome you to Washington.
As elected representatives, we take an active interest in U.S. foreign policy, including issues arising in our relations with transatlantic allies such as Norway. We also closely monitor developments and opportunities overseas involving companies with a significant presence in the state of Connecticut.
Accordingly, we have watched with considerable interest as Norway moves to replace its All Weather Search and Rescue Helicopters, your country's so-called NAWSARH program. Sikorsky Aircraft, which is headquartered in Connecticut, is competing for this opportunity. As you may know, the company is widely regarded for its technological leadership and top performing military and commercial helicopters found in fleets throughout the world, including in Europe.
We were therefore disappointed to recently learn that Sikorsky was not selected to engage in final negotiations on the NAWSARH contract. We find the decision difficult to understand as Sikorsky offered an S-92 helicopter configured specifically for Search and Rescue (SAR) that is very similar to the aircraft Ireland and the United Kingdom chose to perform their national SAR missions. Moreover, Norway is very familiar with the S-92's superb capabilities given the aircraft's strong presence and performance in Norway's offshore oil sector. Indeed, of the more than 600,000 flight hours logged on the S-92 so far, 36 percent of them have been flown by the 32 S-92's operating on the Norwegian shelf.
In light of the S-92's outstanding track record, we respectfully urge the Norwegian government to reconsider the decision to de-select Sikorsky. We know Sikorsky stands ready to negotiate a contract that provides a robust and reliable SAR solution on schedule at reduced risk and cost to Norway.
We are grateful for your consideration of our views on this matter and hope that like us you make this issue a top priority. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to hearing from you on this matter soon.
ROSA L. DeLAURO
JOHN B. LARSON
JAMES A. HIMES
ELIZABETH H. ESTY