The James Bond Vehicle Library

Augusta Westland AW101 Merlin

27/11 2016, updated 04/05 2017   by MS

Augusta Westland AW101 Merlin
The enemy arriving
Augusta Westland AW101 Merlin
Skyfall, 2012
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Augusta Westland AW101 Merlin

007 Relations

Skyfall - 2012
Villain/henchmens vehicle


AW101 helicopter brings Silva and his men to "Skyfall" residence where Bond and M 'hides' for him. After some house shooting the AW101 gunmen are executing James Bonds DB5 only to raise Silva's morale. But Bond seeing this crime constructs a bomb from LPG flasks, which blows the house causing the helicopter to be damaged by debris. Off course it can't land on the fully empty and flat area surrounding the Skyfall residence, it has to crash into the house causing huge spectacular explosion.

The AW101 Merlin was designed as replacement for the Westland SeaKing used by the Royal Navy and Marina Militari Italiana (Italian Navy). As the requirements from both were similar - UK manufacturer Westland and Italian Augusta joined forces under name European Helicopter Industries (EHI) to create a universal helicopter (for military and civilian applications) at a "reasonable price". The work started in 1982 paralel in UK and Italy. The first prototypes flew in 1987. 

EHI (in year 2000 name changed to AugustaWestland) achieved the goal - their helicopter won the main contracts. Beside UK (took over 70 machines) and Italy, also other countries purchased it for their own goals, i.e. Denmark, India, Japan, Canada and Portugal. 

Interesting fact, that the EH101 almost became "Marine One". in 2005 AW together with Lockheed Martin won the contract for the future helicopter of the President of USA - 23 helicopters were to be build. The first helicopters (civil code US101, military code VH-71 "Kestrel") flew in 2008 but  due to the costs the contract was cancelled in 2009, with only 9 helicopters build. 

For the Skyfall the AW101 S/N G-17-510 was used - it is owned by AugustaWestland  and it's the factory 510 Model series which was manufactured for the US government contract purpose as a demonstration unit. Only 2 pcs of 510 models (civilian, with ramp at the back) exist, the second model is used by Tokyo police. During filming the AW101 was piloted by AW test pilot Andy Strachan. Shooting the movie sequences took aprox. 15h of flying.

AW demonstrates and displays this machine at different occasions. Below is a picture from July 2015 taken on 100th anniversary of AW (Augusta? or rather Westland ? ) by one of the aviation fans. Note the red Aston Martin DB5 in the picture.

AW101 on display

By the way: Do you know what links this helicopter to another helicopter seen in 'For Your Eyes Only', the Mi-2? Well - in 2010 PZL Swidnik who manufactured the Mi-2 became part of the AugustaWestland company. The World has indeed become very small.

Technical Data

  • Manufacturer: AugustaWestland (formerly EHI)
  • Model: AW101/ EH101 Merlin
  • Type: Medium Lift / Multirole Helicopter
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • Initial Year of Service: 1995
  • Length: 74,84 ft (22,81 m)
  • Width: 60,99 ft (18,59 m)
  • Height: 21,82 ft (6,65 m)
  • Weight (Empty): 23.149 lb (10.500 kg)
  • Weight (MTOW): 34.392 lb (15.600 kg)
  • Rotor diameter: 61 ft (18,59 m)
  • Powerplant: 3 Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01 turboshaft engines (2.312 hp each),driving a five-blade main rotor and four-blade tail rotor.
  • Maximum Speed: 192 mph (309 kmh, 167 kts)
  • Maximum Range: 863 miles (1.389 km)
  • Service Ceiling: 15.010 ft (4.575 m, 2,8 miles)
  • Rate-of-Climb: 2.000 feet-per-minute (610 m/min)
  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity:
    • 26-30 seated or 45 standing troops, or
    • 38 passengers, or
    • VIP version - 10 passengers, or
    • up to 5 tonnes of payload, can be carried on external hook.
  • Armament Options:
    • 3 7.62mm general purpose machine guns (1 at ramp, 1 on each fuselage sides).
    • 4 Torpedoes
    • 2 Anti-Ship Missiles
    • 2 Rocket Pods on optional wingstubs
    • 2 7.62mm machine gun pods on optional wingstubs
    • Depth Charges
    • 2  External Fuel Tanks


  • Spot reflector

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