AgustaWestland Merlin HM Mk.1
|AgustaWestland Merlin HM Mk.1|
|First Flight||October 9, 1987 (EH101 prototype)|
|Entered Service||June 2, 2000|
|Length >||22.81 m||74 ft 10 in|
|Main rotor Diameter||18.59 m||61 ft|
|Height||6.65 m||21 ft 10 in|
|Main rotor area||271 m²||2,922 ft²|
|Empty >||10,500 kg||23,149 lb|
|Maximum takeoff||14,600 kg||32,188 lb|
|Engines >||3x Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 -01|
|Power||5172 kW||6,936 hp|
|Maximum speed >||309 km/h||192 mph|
|Range||1,853 km||1,152 miles|
|Service ceiling||4,575 m||15,000 ft|
|Rate of climb|
|Guns >||2 x general purpose machine guns|
|Stores||960 kg (2,116 lb)
of bombs and rockets
Table of contents
DevelopmentIn 1977, the UK Ministry of Defence issued a requirement for a new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter to replace the Royal Navy's Westland Sea Kings. Westland responded with a design called the WG.34 that was approved for development. Meanwhile, the Italian Navy was also seeking a replacement for its (Agusta-built) Sea Kings, leading Agusta to a series of discussions with Westland about the possibility of a joint development. This culminated in the joint venture being finalised in November 1979 and a new company (EHI) being formed to manage the project the following year. As the design studies progressed, EHI became aware of a broader market for an aircraft with the same broad capabilities required by the British and Italian navies, leading to a more generalised design that could be customised for specific customers and applications. After a lengthy development, the first prototype flew on October 9 1987.
UKThe Royal Navy's final order was for 44 ASW machines, originally designated Merlin HAS Mk.1 but soon changed to Merlin HM Mk.1. The first fully operational Merlin was delivered on May 17 1997, entering service on June 2 2000. All aircraft were delivered by the end of 2002.
The UK is considering the Merlin as a replacement for the Westland Sea King ASaC7 in the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) role.
ItalyThe Italian Navy received its first production example (of a requirement for 36) January 2001. This batch will include a mixture of ASW, transport, surveillance, and airborne early warning variants, to finish delivery by the end of 2004.
CanadaCanada has had a troubled history with the EH 101. Following the lead of the UK and Italy, the Canadian government placed an order for the type in 1987 to replace the Canadian Air Force's CH-124 Sea Kings and CH-113 Labradors. These were to be assembled in Canada under the designations CH-148 Petrel and CH-149 Chimo in the Anti-Submarine and air-sea rescue roles respectively. The whole programme was cancelled, however, after a change of government in 1993, leading to the payment of cancellation penalties in excess of the total value of the contract. In 1998, the Canadian government announced that the CH-113s would now be replaced by EH101s designated CH-149 Cormorant. The Canadian government refers to these machines as "AW 320"s, carefully avoiding the EH101 name. The first of these arrived in Canada in September 2001 and entered service the following year.
JapanThe Tokyo Police became the first civil customer for the type when they purchased a single example in 1998. In 2003, the Japanese Navy announced an order for 14 aircraft to use in the ASW role.
OthersIn 2001, both Portugal and Denmark announced purchases of the EH101 for SAR duties.
US101Also in 2001 AgustaWestland signed a deal with Lockheed Martin to market the aircraft in the US under the designation US101. It is competing for the VIP and "Marine One" Presidential transport roles currently carried out by H-3 Sea King or the smaller UH-60 Black Hawk. The US101 would be built in the United States and fitted with largely American systems and equipment, General Electric turboshafts for example.
|Similar Aircraft||NHI NH90 - Sikorsky S-92|
|Related Lists||List of military aircraft of Italy - List of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm - List of aircraft of the RAF - List of aircraft of the RCAF - List of ASW aircraft|