AgustaWestland AW101 | Anti-submarine warfare and utility helicopter

AgustaWestland AW101
AgustaWestland AW101

Militarymedia.net | The AgustaWestland AW101 is a modern naval utility helicopter. Initially this helicopter was known as the Eurocopter Industries EH101. It was developed and co-produced by Agusta from Italy and Westland Helicopters from England.

The EH 101 has its roots in the British project to replace the Sea King. The design was later revised to meet the Italian navy as well as the requirements of the Royal Navy. Westland and Agusta founded European Helicopter Industries Ltd, which received official clearance in 1984 for nine prototypes and subsequent development of what became the EH 101. The first prototype made its maiden flight in 1987.

In 2000 Agusta and Westland Helicopters merged and formed AgustaWestland. Since 2007 this helicopter has been marketed under the name AgustaWestland AW101. There are utility and anti-submarine versions of this helicopter.

The EH101/AW101 operates with Italy and the UK. It has been exported to Algeria, Canada (CH-149 Cormorant), Denmark, Nigeria, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan. It is manufactured under license in Japan (Kawasaki MCH-101) and the United States. It should be noted that the UK, Denmark and Portugal use the name Merlin for this helicopter.

An early Royal Navy variant was the Merlin HM.1 equipped with a Blue Kestrel 360° search radar. The first of 44 orders was delivered in 1998. The Italian Navy EH 101 is powered by GE T700-GE-T6A engines, each producing 1714 shp.

In addition to its primary anti-submarine warfare role, the AW 101 is also considered for utility and transport missions. Some roles can be performed using the same basic fuselage as a naval helicopter but, alternatively, the EH 101 can be equipped with a modified rear fuselage incorporating a ventral ramp. Systems and equipment vary by role and customer.

The utility version of the AW101 accommodates 26 soldiers. The carrying capacity is around 4,000 - 5,000 kg. This amount of cargo can be carried internally or hung.

In 2000 the RAF began receiving the first of 22 Merlin HC.Mk 3 medium-lift carriers on order. It can accommodate a maximum of 45 soldiers or up to 6,000 kg of goods carried internally or as a slung load.

The first customer for the utility variant was Canada, which ordered 15 EH 101s for search and rescue duties, along with 35 naval variants. The entire Canadian program was later canceled for budgetary and political reasons, but, in January 1998, the Canadian government ordered 15 examples of the revised version of the AW320 Cormorant SAR.

Further development of the AW101 could produce an airborne early warning version of the type required by the Italian navy and the Royal Navy.

An HH-101A Caesar is a special operations helicopter. It first appeared in 2013 and was adopted by the Italian Air Force in 2015. It performs various missions, such as combat search and rescue, transport, recovery, air support and other special operations missions.

AgustaWestland AW101
AgustaWestland AW101
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