Merlin AW101 version VIP

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AgustaWestland has developed a luxury variant of the AW101, the AW101 VVIP (Very Very Important Person, i.e. a head of state), aimed at business and VIP customers.[128] As of April 2009, 15% of all AW101s sold have been for VIP purposes.[34]

The United States Marine Corps began acquiring the AW101 as the intended replacement of its fleet of Marine One helicopters, used by the President and other key political figures, under the VXX program; designated VH-71 Kestrel, this aircraft was heavily customised with specialised equipment and defensive systems.[129] However, on 6 April 2009, the VH-71 was abruptly terminated when funding was withdrawn.[130] A large number of AW101 spare parts, left over from the VH-71’s aborted development, were purchased by Canada.[131] AgustaWestland teamed up with Boeing in 2010 to enter the AW101 in the restarted VXX program.[132]

Other customers for the VIP variant have emerged; a Saudi Arabian order was placed in 2009,[34] while Algeria and Nigeria has issued orders.[44] Turkmenistan is operating VIP AW101s as of 2013.[44]

In April 2009, India ordered 12 AW101 to serve as executive transport helicopters for the Indian President and Prime Minister.[133][134][135] The Indian selection was made after assessing the AW101 and the Sikorsky S-92 in field trials in 2008.[136] The purchase was put on hold following the 2013 Indian helicopter bribery scandal involving Finmeccanica, the Italian supplier of the AW101 to the Indian Air Force and stakeholder in AugustaWestland.[137][138][139]

photo 1-Alg-VVIP

Après les tribulations techniques du AW101 pour le président des USA et l’annulation du contrat, la version VIP connait d’autres problèmes en Inde.

photo 2-India-VVIP

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