Designed by the European Helicopter Industries (EHI) partnership during the 1980s, initially as a naval helicopter to help combat the threat of an attack from Soviet missile submarines, the Merlin has evolved into a multi-role helicopter today.
The AW101 combines the most advanced technologies, safety by design, mission systems and leading-edge manufacturing to provide a proven platform for long-range Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in certain countries. With a typical range of 750 nm (over 1,300 km) in standard configuration, the AW101 is the most capable SAR helicopter in the world today. Other roles include transportation for Heads of State and VVIP operators; Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO); Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW); Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC); Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM); troop transport; utility support, CASEVAC/MEDEVAC; and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR).
Lavishly illustrated throughout, Rich Pittman offers a fascinating portrait of an enduring and popular aircraft and traces its journey from design to the front line.
Rich Pittman has been an aviation enthusiast his entire life, with his father being employed at Westland's helicopter factory in Yeovil. He also has a passion for travel and photography, and likes to combine these with his love of aviation.