ILA: AgustaWestland proposes AW101 for Luftwaffe CSAR requirement

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AgustaWestland has pitched its AW101 platform as a means of meeting the German air force's combat search and rescue (CSAR) requirement.

The request for proposals deadline response is set for 26 July, with a preferred bidder selection due by year-end.

"The AW101 CSAR is ready today at low risk, offering proven combat and operational capabilities, together with NATO interoperability, to meet the CSAR needs of the German air force across all environments", says Richard Luck, a market development executive at AgustaWestland.

The demanding and compressed Luftwaffe programme requirement is for an initial eight aircraft with an option for 11 additional examples. Four would be delivered in a full operational capability configuration by the end of 2014, to be ready for operational deployment from 2015.

AgustaWestland says its CSAR version of the AW101, which has been selected by eight nations, has accumulated more than 200,000 flying hours, of which 15,000h were in combat areas, and more than 23,000 operational desert landings without incident.

The AW101 offers growth potential in the rotor dynamics and engine areas, it adds.

The Luftwaffe requirement encompasses in-flight refuelling capability, enhanced self-protection and all-weather net-centric avionics, including satellite communications. It also seeks the ability to recover a seven-person team with the same number in the rescue-aircraft team.

To boost fire support aircraft capabilities, AgustaWestland has modified the AW101's lateral doors so that three 12.7mm machine guns can be mounted to provide 360° coverage with 220° overlapping coverage. In addition, it has fitted an engine infrared suppression system and a medical treatment module already in service with the Royal Danish Air Force.

In parallel to the RFP timescale for the CSAR platform, the German air force is also awaiting responses to a request for information regarding training and logistics support. These are also due on 26 July.

The AW101 CSAR demonstrator on static display at ILA features, for the first time, the markings of India and Algeria, which have acquired, respectively, AW101 VVIP and maritime patrol helicopter versions.