EH Industries (EHI) has conducted flight demonstrations of the EH101 for the US military in anticipation of near-term opportunities in Canada and the USA that could lead to licensed production of the helicopter in North America.


The marketing tour followed a US Coast Guard evaluation last month of the medium-lift helicopter in Scotland. Additional flights were completed in the USA for senior USCG officials.

The Litton Avondale Industries and Lockheed Martin teams participating in the USCG's $10 billion Deepwater programme have requested EH101 technical data, but a third team which includes Sikorsky - its S-92 is a key rival to the EH101 - has not followed suit.

EHI has also demonstrated the helicopter to the US Navy, which needs to replace Sikorsky MH-53E Sea Dragons used for vertical onboard delivery and airborne mine countermeasures. The US Air Force, meanwhile, is determining whether to upgrade or replace 105 Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopters and has been provided with EH101 technical data.

Giuseppe Orsi, Agusta's co-general manager, is receptive to sale or lease of EH101s to military forces. "We believe a commercial-type lease is a viable solution," he says.

EHI is teamed with Boeing Canada and Bell Canada for the Canadian Forces' Maritime Helicopter Programme (MHP) intended to replace 35 Sikorsky Sea Kings. The company is under contract to build 15 AW520 Cormorant search and rescue machines for Canada. If selected for the MHP, the EH101 would be assembled at Bell's Mirabel factory.

Orsi says EH101 licensed production by Boeing or Bell would be considered for any US or Canadian order for at least 25 EH101s. "We will discuss licensing when a programme materialises."

Source: Flight International