EH 101 Merlin Denmark
The AgustaWestland EH101 is a medium-lift helicopter originally developed as a joint venture between Westland Aircraft in the UK and Agusta in Italy for military applications but also marketed for civil use. The Royal Navy's MERLIN HM MK1 helicopters, are commonly regarded as the most advanced Anti Submarine Warfare helicopters in the world. In 1977, the UK Ministry of Defence issued a requirement for a new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter to replace the Royal Navy's Westland Sea Kings. Westland responded with a design called the WG.34 that was approved for development. Meanwhile, the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) was also seeking a replacement for its (Agusta-built) Sea Kings, leading Agusta to a series of discussions with Westland about the possibility of a joint development. This culminated in the joint venture being finalised in November 1979 and a new company (EH Industries) being formed to manage the project the following year. EH is an abbreviation for Elicottero Helicopter, incorporating both the English and Italian words for "helicopter." As the design studies progressed, EH became aware of a broader market for an aircraft with the same broad capabilities required by the British and Italian navies, leading to a more generalised design that could be customised for specific customers and applications. After a lengthy development, the first prototype flew on October 9 1987. EH Industries no longer exists, having been incorporated into the parent when the two companies merged.
The nomination 'EH101' is actually a typographical error that stuck: the aircraft was originally designated EHI (Elicottero Helicopter Industries) - 01
The aircraft was manufactured at the AgustaWestland factory in Yeovil.
Picture added on 16 October 2006