EH Industries offers commercial developments of its EH 101 aimed at offshore oil rig support, airport/city centre shuttle and utility operations.
EH Industries is a collaborative venture between Westland of the UK and Agusta of Italy (in 1998 both companies agreed to merge) which was formed to develop an anti submarine warfare helicopter for the Royal Navy and Italian navy. The partnership was formed in 1980, and both companies have a 50% holding. From the outset both companies intended to develop civil and commercial models of the EH 101. Westland has design responsibility for the Heliliner, the anti submarine warfare variant is being developed jointly, while Agusta heads development of military and utility transport versions with a rear loading ramp.
EH 101 full scale development began in March 1984. The first flight of an EH 101 (the Westland built PP1) was on October 9 1987, while the first civil configured EH 101, PP3, first flew on September 30 1988. The first production EH 101 (a Merlin for the Royal Navy) first flew in December 1995.
While the Royal Navy's EH 101 Merlin ASW helicopters and the Royal Air Force's Merlin HC.3 tactical transports will have RollsRoyce Turboméca RTM322 engines, Italian and civil EH 101s will have General Electric CT7 engines.
The 30 seat Heliliner is optimised either for offshore oil rig or airport to city centre transfers, and the rear freight door is offered as an option, while the civil utility version has the rear ramp fitted as standard. Canada's military has ordered 15 similar AW320 Cormorants for search and rescue work.
So far Tokyo's police is the only civil EH 101 customer. In late 1998, two preproduction machines - PP3 and PP9 - began a program of simulated commercial and military operations in the North Sea based from Aberdeen in Scotland, part of efforts to validate reliability and maintainability.
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