AgustaWestland, February 21, 2006 - K / Italy - The AgustaWestland EH101 helicopter is the most capable helicopter in its class and the only helicopter that can perform the airborne mine counter measures (AMCM) role while offering one engine inoperative safety, the ability to tow all current and future AMCM systems while providing long on station towing endurance. With over 300 types of mines that can be deployed from aircraft, surface vessels or submarines the threat to shipping is growing and can be efficiently countered by the AMCM EH101.
To provide a solution to the increasing threat AgustaWestland is developing the installation of a palletized AMCM system for the EH101 helicopter. Comprising the AMCM operator console, winch assembly, the carriage, deployment and recovery system, winch assembly and submersible unit all easily fit into the EH101’s large (6.50m x 2.49m x 1.83m) cabin with space to spare for additional seats and other equipment. Externally the aircraft will be fitted with a rear view TV or mirrors for the pilot during towing operations and on the rear fuselage tow cable guide bars.
The rear ramp configuration of the EH101 provides maximum safety during towed AMCM operations and allows easy deployment and recovery of the towed body into the cabin. Recovering the body into cabin ensures the EH101 can deploy to the search area at maximum cruise speed, 150 knots, for maximum effectiveness.
At 50 nm radius of action the EH101 can perform 2.5 hours of towing time on station with reserves enabling large areas of sea to be cleared of mine threats. The high level of one engine inoperative power available, due to the three engine configuration, enables the EH101 to maintain flight and fly away if an engine failure occurs while towing the submersible unit. The EH101 has an OEI power to weight ratio of 0.26 kW/kg compared too 0.15 kW/kg for a typical twin engine helicopter.
Developed from the outset as a naval helicopter the EH101 is fully marinised and suited for ship or shore based operations and is equipped with both electrically powered main rotor blade and tail fold systems, deck handling system interfaces and harpoon deck lock system, all of which have been proven in service with current EH101 operators.
The palletized AMCM system also allows rapid re-roling of the aircraft to a wide range of roles including amphibious support, search and rescue, maritime patrol and other naval roles for both blue water and littoral operations.
The EH101 is in service with the British Royal Navy, Italian Navy and is soon to enter service with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, who will configure the aircraft for AMCM operations in the future. The EH101 is proven in service in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, maritime patrol, search and rescue, airborne early warning, amphibious support and airborne command post roles, operating from both land and ship bases.
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is one of the largest helicopter companies in the world. The company offers an unrivalled range of helicopters, training and support solutions to satisfy the requirements of civil and military customers. AgustaWestland has its primary operations in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.