The Eh101 tri-engine multi-purpose helcopter is made by Euro Helicopter company. The design work began in Jan 1980, the contract was signed in Mar 1984. In Nov 1994, EH101 got the civilian license of UK and Italy, as well as FAA in US. EH101 is now mainly charged by EH company and Agusta company of Italy.
EH101 can hold two pilots on the flight deck and up to 35 combat equipped troops or 16 stretchers plus a medical team. The fuselage is mainly made by aluminum and lithium, with the modularization design. The fuselage is also prang resistible. The air control computer charges navigation, cockpit display management, operation control and engine state. The Merlin is equipped with active vibration damping control, the noise and vibration inside the cabin is no greater than in a turboprop aircraft. So, crew fatigue is much reduced, and airframe life is increased.
There are 3 variation of EH101, the Naval, the Civilian transportation and Military version.
The detection sensors of Naval version include light weight mid-low frequency sonar, OMI SEP 20 AFCS flight control system, BAE LINS300 laser gyroscope, LISA-4000 AHRS height direction system, 91E speed sensor, Cossor global positioning system, 2 Thomason AHV-16 radio altimeters, a low-speed sensor and inflight data system. The weapons of EH101 are sea-skimming anti-ship missle, 4 torpedo or Mark 11 depth charge.
EH101 Merlin is the first of the next generation of medium support helicopters for UK. Merlin is the variation of the EH101 helicopter provided by EH company, which began to serve in Royal Navy in Dec, 1998. The main purpose of EH101 is anti-ship and anti-submarine, as well as rescue and transportation.
It can serve on 22, 23 frigate, UK carriers and amphibian ships. Photo shows the inside of naval variation.
Twenty two of the Merlin HC3, the variation of EH101, will enter RAF service as replacements for the Wessex with No.28 Squadron. There is a future requirement to fit stub wings enabling anti-armour or air-to-air missiles and rocket pods. Studies have also been made for a nose turret and 0.5 inch machine gun, and machine guns on pintles at the door positions. A first for the RAF helicopter fleet is the fitting of an air-to-air refuelling probe. A tail gangplank is added to make it easier to load and unload cargo.
The UK naval version use three Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM 322 three shaft turbines of 2,312 shp each. The Italian naval version use GE T700-GE-T6A, 1,713 shp each. The civilian and military version use GE CT7-6, 1,920 shp each. Photo shows the RTM322.
The US DOD chose EH101 recently. The Lockheed Martin is selected to be the local provider of EH101 in US. The DoD named it AH101, each costs 20 million dollars. Now the DoD requires nearly 500 helicopters of this level. But AH101 still need to face the challange of the Sikorsky S-92.
UK, Canada, Japan and Norway have ordered EH101. Canada plans to replace SH-3 Seaking by EH101.
EH101 Naval variation Data
Rotor Diameter: 61ft