JMSDF Takes Delivery of First EH101
AgustaWestland announce the delivery by Kawasaki of the first EH101 helicopter to the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF)
AgustaWestland, March 06, 2006 - AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the delivery by Kawasaki of the first of 14 EH101 helicopters to the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF). The handover ceremony took place 3rd March at Kawasaki Aerospace's Gifu plant.
The helicopter is the first of 14 aircraft selected by the Japanese Defence Agency to meet its transportation, Airborne Mine Counter Measures (AMCM) and Antarctic support requirements. AgustaWestland and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) signed a licence and purchase agreement in 2003 to produce and support the Japanese EH101s.
KHI has now established manufacturing, test flight and support facilities at its Gifu works in Japan. Fourteen utility rear-ramped variants of the EH101 have been selected to replace the JMSDF's fleet of Sikorsky MH-53Es and S-61s. Assembly of the second aircraft is already underway in Japan and the remaining 12 aircraft kits will be prepared by AgustaWestland in the UK for final assembly by Kawasaki in Japan.
Speaking at the ceremony Giuseppe Orsi, AgustaWestland's CEO, said "Introducing into operation a sophisticated new product such as the MCH 101 is a challenging task: however we are convinced that the AgustaWestland, Kawasaki and Marubeni teams will further develop the excellent working relationship with the JMSDF to achieve the expected goals and to make this program a great success. This on schedule delivery is the first example of the good results that this team has achieved and will continue to deliver. We are looking forward to long lasting cooperation with Kawasaki and the Japanese defense industry, with the aim to jointly develop and deliver to the Japanese Defense Agency other high technology equipments that will contribute to the Japanese defense capability and to the success of the Japanese defense industry."
The JMSDF by introducing this helicopter into its inventory is joining a large family of EH101 users that includes the British and Italian navies, the Portuguese, Danish, Canadian and British Air Forces, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and soon the US Marine Corps. Today's delivery and the recently signed contract for 12 AW139 helicopter with Mitsui Bussan Aerospace highlights AgustaWestland's strengthened position in the Japanese market where now more than 30 out of 53 helicopters ordered so far are in service with civil and government operators.
Kawasaki MCH-101 8651 ( Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force )