Paul Derby

GKN Westland Helicopters is to begin work on a £28-million ($46-million) contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence to improve the defensive aids suite (DAS) destined for the EH101 Merlin HC Mk3 support helicopter.

Destined for the British Royal Air Force, the upgraded Merlins will become the first helicopters to enter service with an integrated DAS. Westland says they will possess the highest level of self-protection of any UK military helicopters.

The enhancement consists of an infra-red countermeasures system incorporating passive missile warning, the GEC-Marconi Sky Guardian 2000 radar warning receiver, the Hughes Danbury laser detecting system and a Tracor ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system.

Westland says increased survivability on the battlefield is the major mission for DAS and that flight crew workload will be greatly reduced in a high threat environment.

Due to enter service with the RAF in 2000, the EH-101 Merlin Mk3 support helicopter has been developed jointly by GKN Westland and Agusta of Italy.

Source: Flight Daily News