AW101: multi-role capability to satisfy customers' needs
Utmost flexibility and adaptability to meet specific customer requirements: these are the characteristics that make the AW101 one of the most successful medium/heavy helicopters on the market today. With over 220 units ordered so far by several countries, including Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Denmark, Canada, Japan and Norway, the AW101, produced by Leonardo’s Helicopter Division, is a three-engine helicopter in the class of 16 tonnes, capable of carrying out a wide range of military and government missions.
Over the years, the AW101 has modified and updated its configuration according to the demands and needs of the military market, especially for versions dedicated to Naval, Personnel Recovery, Special Operations, troop and tactical transport, and MedEvac (Medical Evacuation)/CasEvac (Casualty Evacuation) missions, and the government market, especially in the configuration dedicated to the transportation of Heads of State.
ADVANCED SYSTEMS FOR COMPETITIVE PERFORMANCE
The AW101 ensures unparalleled performance, load capacity and safety levels with the best cost/effectiveness ratio. The avionic systems and mission equipment allow operations in all environmental and climatic conditions, on land and on sea, at high altitudes, in desert environments as well as in icing conditions. The advanced transmission system allows a 30 minute dry-run in the event of complete loss of lubrication oil, ensuring unmatched safety standards.
The helicopter is equipped with a large cabin that can comfortably accommodate up to 38 soldiers or 16 stretchers or over 50 passengers in a high-density configuration for humanitarian relief and civil protection operations in case of natural and environmental disasters.
The AW101 is the only helicopter in CASEVAC configuration able to combine in one aircraft the Personnel Recovery & MEDEVAC roles in the same mission thanks to the additional space available for the stretchers & crew.
CUSTOMERS AND APPLICATIONS
The naval version of the AW101 is already in service with the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan and is being used successfully in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions, in minesweeping and support for amphibious missions. The Italian Navy also employs the AW101 for patrolling and search and rescue missions.
In Canada and Portugal, the AW101 has demonstrated excellent performance in the undertaking of SAR (Search and Rescue) missions, even under conditions so extreme that no other helicopter could carry them out. Such capabilities were influential in Norway’s decision to order 16 AW101s for their demanding SAR requirement. The Italian Air Force has acquired an updated version of the AW101 for Personnel Recovery missions, while the Merlins, the denomination of the British AW101s, have successfully accomplished CASEVAC/ troop transport missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The AW101 was designed as a multi-role maritime helicopter with capability to operate from Frigate size ships. It can operate from small naval vessels in hostile marine environments with its ability to land safely with no assistance on ship decks up to sea state 3. All its fuselages are “wet assembled” during build to provide highest corrosion protection to the airframe.
PRODUCTION, CUSTOMER SUPPORT AND TRAINING
The AW101 is manufactured using the latest and most modern composite materials, which help to reduce its weight and at the same time increase its structural strength and tolerance to fatigue. Light alloys are also used in the manufacture of main and tail rotor blades, ensuring a very high level of safety, reliability and tolerance to damage (such as protection against impact with birds and lightning strikes).
The helicopter is assembled at Leonardo’s Helicopter Division Yeovil site in the United Kingdom. Various plants are involved in industrial production activities, including the plant in Świdnik, Poland, where large parts of the AW101 fuselages are produced.
With regard to Customer Support & Training, a team of British colleagues will train together with Świdnik’s colleagues in a joint effort to further improve the ability to assist current and future helicopter operators. In Norway, a Training Centre dedicated to AW101 operators provides the necessary qualification training for the use of this helicopter according to the aircraft’s specific configurations and requirements.