Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has delivered the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s (JMSDF) first licence-built example of the AgustaWestland EH101, heralding a new era in production of the 15t-class helicopter.
The first EH101 to be assembled outside AgustaWestland’s production facilities in Italy and the UK, the new MCH101 is the second of 14 specially-configured aircraft to be produced for Japan. The platform – which has 35% local content – is among 11 to be used for airborne mine countermeasures duties, with the remaining three CH101s to conduct Antarctic support missions.
Japan took delivery of its first MCH101 in March 2006, with the aircraft having been assembled at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil plant in the UK before undergoing conversion at KHI’s Gifu works. To replace the JMSDF’s Sikorsky MH-53Es, the MCH101 will deploy minesweeping equipment from its rear ramp.
The EH101 is already in service with military customers in Canada, Denmark, Italy, Portugal and the UK, and a Lockheed Martin-led US101 variant is also now in production as the next US presidential helicopter.
Read Seiji Hirokawa's article on the MCH101 roll out