On Friday, Feb. 3. 2017, a demonstration of the Leonardo (formerly known as Agusta Westland) AW101 (formerly known as EH101) helicopter took place at the Warsaw-Babice airport. The said helicopter is being offered by the Italian manufacturer as a proposed rotary-wing solution for the Polish Navy and for the Polish Special Forces.
AW101 is a multi-role heavy-medium helicopter developed by Agusta and Westland Helicopters companies (Italian and British, respectively), which, following the recent fusion and transformation, have formed an Agusta Westland consortium managed by the Italian Leonardo group. Since the year 1997, 220 examples of AW101, in a variety of versions, have been manufactured.
The helicopter that paid its visit to Warsaw last Friday is the specialized HH-101A platform, operated by Aeronautica Militare as a platform supporting the special forces, and it is also known under the name of Caesar. The Italians operate 12 helicopters of this type, and they are stationed, among other locations, also at the Trapani base in Sicily. The crew consists out of 5 or 6 members, while the helicopter itself is capable of transporting up to 20 troops or 8 commandos. The rotary-winged aircraft in question is armed with three .30-cal. machine guns mounted within the side doors and at the ramp, in the rear part of the fuselage. Moreover, AW101 has also been fitted with armored crew-seats, ballistic protection system for the gunner stations or additional armor, protecting the critical systems of the helicopter. The HH101 platform also features an air-to-air refueling probe. The equipment package installed on-board is complemented by a sensor system, including an optronic sensor, self-defense suite, encrypted communications suite and Link 16 data-link, intercom, IFF (identification friend or foe) system, Gabbiano Radar, LWE laser warning receiver and MILDS missile defense warning system.
The Italian design is being offered in numerous variants, including specialized ones, as follows: CASEVAC, MEDEVAC, CSAR, SAR, transport, ASW, anti-ship, AEW, mine countermeasure and VIP transport versions.
AW101’s powerplant is formed by 3 Rolls-Royce/ Turbomeca RTM322-01 engines, delivering 1725 kW of power each. Thanks to the above the helicopter is capable of attaining speeds of up to 309 kilometers per hour and flying at the altitudes of 3300 meters above the sea level. Dry weight of the AW101 is defined as 10 500 kilograms, while MTOW is defined as 14 600 kilograms. The helicopter in question may carry up to 30 persons onboard, or up to 16 casualties on stretchers.
Within the framework of the Polish helicopter tender, Leonardo proposes that the AW101 takes on a role of CSAR platform for the special forces, moreover, eight ASW/SAR helicopters are also being offered as a potential solution for the Polish Navy.
The AW101 is, at the moment, seeing operational use in the following countries: Algeria, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Turkmenistan, the UK and finally, Italy.
During the Warsaw demonstration representatives of the press had a chance to fly onboard, moreover, a dynamic display of the aircraft capabilities also took place. We could not afford to miss a chance to capture the event with our cameras. We would like to invite you to get acquainted with the photos we have captured on site.
Article text: Wojciech Mazurkiewicz/eds. and translation: Jacek Siminski
Photos: Wojciech Mazurkiewicz and Filip Modrzejewski
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