Agustawestland Eh101

  • In the news

  • Chopper: Two vie for chance to fly president
    Cincinnati Enquirer, OH -
    ... surfaces. The US101 is modeled after AgustaWestland's EH101 Merlin, choppers that have flown missions over Iraq and Bosnia. "Sikorsky's ...
  • Patriotism drives copter competition
    Boston Globe, MA -
    ... surfaces. The US101 is modeled after AgustaWestland's EH101 Merlin, a chopper that has flown missions over Iraq and Bosnia. "Sikorsky's ...
  • Two Solid Shots At Marine One
    Hartford Courant (subscription), CT -
    ... Some analysts see advantages for the US101 in its wider cabin and its longer track record in service. AgustaWestland's EH101 has been in use since 1998. ...
  • A win could bring building boom to Owego
    Press & Sun-Bulletin, NY -
    ... General Electric beat out British-based Rolls Royce, which supplies the engines of the EH101, the joint AgustaWestland/Lockheed Martin helicopter serving in a ...
  • Royal Air Force Deploys EH101 'Merlin' Helicopter to United States ...
    Yahoo News (press release) -
    ... prime contractor and systems integrator for the American-built US101 aircraft, an American variant of AgustaWestland's successful EH101 multimission helicopter ...

AgustaWestland Merlin HM Mk.1
AgustaWestland Merlin HM Mk.1
Role ASW Helicopter
Crew 4
First Flight October 9, 1987 (EH101 prototype)
Entered Service June 2, 2000
Manufacturers EHI, AgustaWestland
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
bgcolor="#87CEEB" colspan="3">Weights
Empty > 10,500 kg

23,149 lb
Maximum takeoff 14,600 kg

32,188 lb
bgcolor="#87CEEB" colspan="3">Powerplant
Engines > 3x Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 -01
Power 5172 kW

6,936 hp
bgcolor="#87CEEB" colspan="3">Performance
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
Rotor loading
Avionics >
Guns > 2 x general purpose machine guns
Stores 960 kg (2,116 lb)
of bombs and rockets
The AgustaWestland EH101 is a medium-lift helicopter originally developed as a joint venture between Westland Helicopters in the UK and Agusta in Italy for military applications but also marketed for civil use.

1 Development

2 Operators

Table of contents


In 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.



The 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 Royal Air Force ordered 22 transport helicopters designated Merlin HC3, the first of which entered service on December 11 2000.

The UK is considering the Merlin as a replacement for the Westland Sea King ASaC7 in the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) role.


The 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.


Canada 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.


The 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.


In 2001, both Portugal and Denmark announced purchases of the EH101 for SAR duties.


Also 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.

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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