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Agustawestland aw101

The meaning of «agustawestland aw101»

The AgustaWestland AW101 is a medium-lift helicopter in military and civil use. First flown in 1987, it was developed by a joint venture between Westland Helicopters in the United Kingdom and Agusta in Italy in response to national requirements for a modern naval utility helicopter. Several operators, including the armed forces of Britain, Denmark, and Portugal, use the name Merlin for their AW101 aircraft.[3][4] It is manufactured at factories in Yeovil, England and Vergiate, Italy; licensed assembly work has also taken place in Japan and the United States.

Prior to 2007, the aircraft had been marketed under the designation EH101. The original designation was EHI 01, from the name given to the Anglo-Italian joint venture – European Helicopter Industries – but a transcription error changed this to EH101.[5] In 2000, Westland Helicopters and Agusta merged to form AgustaWestland, leading to the type's current designation.

The AW101 entered into service in 1999 and has since replaced several older helicopter types, such as the Sikorsky Sea King, performing roles such as medium-sized transport, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and ship-based utility operations. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) operates the CH-149 Cormorant variant for air-sea rescue. Another variant, the Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel, was produced to serve in the US presidential transport fleet before the program was cancelled and the aircraft sold off. Civil operators use the AW101 for passenger and VIP transportation. The type has been deployed to active combat theatres, such as in support of coalition forces during the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.

In 1977, the UK Ministry of Defence issued a requirement for an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter to replace the Royal Navy's Westland Sea Kings, which were becoming inadequate in the face of advances in Soviet submarine technology. Westland Helicopters put together a proposal, designated WG.34, for a three-engined helicopter of similar dimensions to the Sea King; the WG.34 was to feature more autonomy and a greater range than its predecessor.[6] At the same time, the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) was also considering the replacement of its fleet of Sea Kings, which had been built by the Italian company Agusta; Westland and Agusta soon began talks regarding the joint development of a successor helicopter.[7]

Agusta and Westland finalised an agreement to work on the project together, and formed a jointly owned new company, EH Industries Limited (EHI), to pursue the development and marketing of the new helicopter to potential operators. On 12 June 1981, the UK government confirmed its participation in the project, allocated an initial budget of £20 million to develop nine pre-series examples.[8] A major agreement, which secured funding for the majority of the EH101's development program, was signed by both the British and Italian governments in 1984.[9] At the 1985 Paris Air Show, Agusta showed a mock-up of a utility version of the new helicopter, leading to a more generalised design that could be customised to meet the needs of various civilian or military customers. The first prototype flew on 9 October 1987.[10]

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