The art of in-flight refuelling

Norway’s frigates safeguard the country’s territorial and economic interests under difficult conditions. The Royal Norwegian Navy has chosen Helifuel’s HIFR system for in-flight refuelling of helicopters from five ships.


Few ships can measure up to those serving the mission of the Royal Norwegian Navy. These ships patrol huge ocean areas in all weather conditions along Norway’s coast, around the Svalbard archipelago, in the Barents Sea, in arctic regions and along the Russian border. The Navy operates all along the nation’s coast, with special emphasis on the northernmost part. All 15 vessels must be operative regardless of conditions, and depend on helicopters, which need regular refuelling, to do their jobs.


Helifuel’s product called HIFR, which stands for Helicopter In-flight Refuelling, helps them complete their missions.

The order covers five frigates. The formal customer is the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation.

“If the waves are too big, helicopters simply can’t land on the helideck. So the helicopter uses its own winch to lift a hose that allows it to refuel,” explains Oddvar Østensvik, Helifuel sales manager.


Such operations place extreme demands on safety and functionality for pilots, crew and equipment.

“Helifuel must be top notch. This patent was painstakingly developed and thoroughly tested. In this industry and with such customers, there is no room for half measures,” says Østensvik.


“Delivering Helifuel’s system to the Navy is purely and simply an honour. We know the importance of the job they do and how demanding it can be. This is a real feather in the caps of those of us who work with Helifuel’s fuelling systems every single day. We’ve proven that our products don’t just meet requirements, but are the preferred solution in a sector where faults or shortcomings are never an option,” says Helifuel’s CEO Jorunn Håvardsholm.