United Kingdom / Italy

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EH Industries EH 101

Anti-submarine and utility helicopter

EH Industries EH 101 helicopter

The EH Industries EH 101 helicopter in utility role can accommodate a maximum of 45 troops

Entered service 1998
Crew 1-2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 22.81 m
Main rotor diameter 18.59 m
Height 6.65 m
Weight (empty) 10.5 t
Weight (maximum take off) 14.6 t
Engines and performance
Engines 3 x Rolls-Royce / Turbomeca RTM 322-01 turboshaft engines
Engine power 3 x 2 312 hp
Cruising speed 278 km/h
Service ceiling 4.5 km
Range 1 056 km
Endurance 5 hours
Missiles 2 x Sea Eagle, Marte 2, AM.39 Exocet or AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles
Torpedoes 4 x Marconi Stingray torpedoes


   The EH 101 has its roots in a UK project to replace the Westland Sea King. The design was later revised to meet Italian navy as well as Royal Navy requirements. Westland and Agusta established European Helicopter Industries Ltd, which received formal go-ahead in 1984 for nine prototypes and subsequent development of what now became the EH 101. The first prototype made its maiden flight in 1987. Currently this helicopter is marketed as AugustaWestland AW101.

   Aside from its principal anti-submarine warfare role, the EH 101 is also envisaged for utility and transport missions. Some roles can be performed using the same basic fuselage as the naval helicopter but, alternatively, the EH 101 can be fitted with a modified rear fuselage incorporating a ventral ramp/door. Systems and equipment vary with role and customer.

   The initial Royal Navy variant is the Merlin HM.Mk 1 which is equipped with a Blue Kestrel 360 search radar. The first of 44 on order was delivered in 1998. The Italian navy EH 101s (16 on order plus eight on option) are powered by GE T700-GE-T6A engines, each rated at 1 714 hp (1278 kW).

   In 2000 the RAF began to receive the first of 22 Merlin HC.Mk 3 medium-lift transports. These can accommodate a maximum of 45 troops or up to 6 tons of freight carried internally or as a slung load. The first customer for the utility variant was to have been Canada, which ordered 15 EH 101s for search and rescue duties, along with 35 naval variants. The entire Canadian programme was subsequently cancelled on budget and political grounds, but, in January 1998, the Canadian government placed a new order for 15 examples of the revised AW320 Cormorant SAR version for delivery between 2000 and 2003. Further development of the EH 101 could result in an airborne early warning version of the type required by both the Italian navy and Royal Navy.

   In 2000 Augusta and Westland Helicopters merged and formed AugustaWestland. Since 2007 this helicopter is marketed as AugustaWestland AW101.


Video of the EH 101 Merlin utility helicopter

EH 101 helicopter

EH 101 helicopter

EH 101 helicopter

EH 101 helicopter

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