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AgustaWestland and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have today signed an agreement to modify six EH101 Merlin helicopters the MoD are buying from Denmark, to provide additional helicopter support for the UK armed forces. The agreement also includes the purchase of six new build EH101 Merlin helicopters that will be delivered by the MoD to the Royal Danish Air Force to replace the original aircraft.
The six ex Royal Danish Air Force EH101 Merlin Joint Supporters, which will be known as EH101 Merlin HC Mk3As in RAF service, will be delivered to AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility where they will be modified to MoD requirements. The aircraft were delivered to the Royal Danish Air Force in the last 12 months and will enter service with the Royal Air Force later this year after modification. The aircraft will be also equipped with BERP IV technology main rotor blades which will provide further improved performance. The Merlin Mk.3As will be the first helicopters to be equipped with these new technology blades, developed under a jointly funded AgustaWestland and UK MoD research and development rotor technology programme.
Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland, after the announcement said “We are delighted that the UK MoD have chosen the EH101 option as a means of meeting its requirement for additional transport helicopters. The EH101 has, during two years of operations in Iraq, demonstrated its excellent capabilities and these additional aircraft will provide the UK armed forces with an important additional capability”
Alan Johnston, Managing Director, AgustaWestland went on to say “AgustaWestland is delighted to be awarded this contract. As committed partners of the UK Ministry of Defence, we work alongside the British government to support them in fulfilling their operational requirements. The Strategic Partnering Agreement, signed by AgustaWestland and the MoD last June, has been of significant benefit in allowing both sides to proceed quickly to finalise this agreement, ensuring the armed forces get the equipment they require as soon as possible. The additional capacity that these aircraft and the blade technology developed in conjunction with the MoD will bring our armed forces is of great pride to our company.”
The six new build aircraft will be built at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility for the UK MoD who will then deliver the aircraft to the Royal Danish Air Force to replace the original aircraft. The first of these new build aircraft will be delivered to Denmark 24 months after the contract signature.
AgustaWestland will also supply an initial support package for the Merlin HC Mk3A aircraft including spares, training and technical publications. The aircraft which will then be integrated into the Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) programme
Orders for 152 EH101 have been placed to date by customers around the world including the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Italian Navy, Portuguese Air Force, Canadian Forces, Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Royal Danish Air Force and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.