MCH-101 Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM)
The MCH-101 mine sweeping and transport helicopter which Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered to the Maritime Self-Defense Force on 03 March 2006 is a modified model based on the EH-101 helicopter developed by Agusta Westland which has the production bases in England and Italy to meet the missions of the Maritime Self-Defense Force with the installation of the minesweeping instrument towing function, etc.
The Maritime Self-Defense Force has a plan to procure three MCH-101 helicopters during the current mid-term defense program (from 2005 to 2009). The Maritime Self-Defense Force also plans to change the south-pole transport-assisting helicopter on board the Antarctic-bound icebreaker to the EH-101 model.
The MCH-101 is the successor of the current MH-53E, and is based on the EH-101, a multipurpose helicopter developed and manufactured by AgustaWestland and modified by Kawasaki. Powered by three engines, the MCH-101 boasts higher safety levels and flying capabilities, and a roomier cabin with enhanced transport capacity and a configuration that boosts operational efficiency. It also features fully automatic folding of its rotor blades and tail section, for convenient stowage on the warships, as well as high-performance rotor blades, an active antivibration system and a cutting-edge avionics system.
In 2003, Kawasaki became the JDA's prime contractor for production of the EH-101 airframe and engine. The CH-101 helicopter, which is used for Antarctic transportation, is also based on this model. Licensed manufacturing of the second MCH-101 and the first CH-101 has already begun.
The Maritime Self-Defense Force has a plan to procure three MCH-101 helicopters during the mid-term defense program (from 2005 to 2009), and may eventually procure a total of 11. The Maritime Self-Defense Force also plans to change the south-pole transport-assisting helicopter on board the Antarctic-bound icebreaker to the EH-101 model.On March 3, 2006 Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered the first MCH-101 helicopter, to be used for Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) missions and transportation, to the Japan Defense Agency (JDA).
The MCH101 is powered by three Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 turbine engines. Rolls-Royce Turbomeca (RRTM) has granted Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) a licence to assemble, test, repair and overhaul RTM322 engines for the JMSDF's MCH101 helicopter programme. In addition, the aerospace division of KHI will also be assembling MCH101 aircraft in Japan. The first engine to be assembled by KHI was delivered to the JMSDF in October 2005.
Richard Thornley, Regional Executive for Rolls-Royce in Japan, said: "The on-time handover of the first RTM322-powered MCH101 marks an important milestone in this partnership between KHI and Rolls-Royce Turbomeca. This collaboration has now enabled the JMSDF to take delivery of one of the world's most advanced helicopter engines. With KHI, we will continue to strongly support the JMSDF so that they may enjoy the full potential of this valuable asset."
Miriam Ryan, RRTM program manager at Turbomeca, announced: "The future success of major helicopter suppliers, lies in their ability to bring together the best resources available in response to the specific needs of a customer. We are proud to be associated with all of the partners on this project, who clearly demonstrated their ability to successfully face these challenges in the interests of delivering a world class engine."
Japan is the fifth customer to choose the RTM322 for the EH101, highlighting the fact that the RTM322 is the leading powerplant for modern medium-sized helicopters, particularly those operating in a maritime environment. Two variants of the RTM322-powered EH101 are in operation with the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, and the engine also powers the British Army's Apache AH Mk1 helicopter. Additionally, Portugal and Denmark have chosen the RTM322 for their EH101 helicopters.
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