Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
12 November 2009
Also Known As: AW159 Lynx Wildcat
Origin: United Kingdom
GKN Aerospace, Leonardo Helicopters* and Oldland CNC (*) lead contractor
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Description: The GKN/AgustaWestland Lynx is a lightweight, twin-engine, multi-role helicopter designed to meet the requirements of the British Army and the Royal Navy for battlefield and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions respectively. The Royal Navy's Sea Lynx are also suitable to conduct anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missions employing anti-ship missiles. The Lynx helicopter family was ordered by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman and the Republic of Korea (RoK) as well as other operators. The basic Lynx helicopter was powered by two Rolls-Royce Gem 42 turboshaft engines but more recent upgraded versions are powered by two CTS800-4N engines. It entered service in 1976 and was successfully deployed for the first time during the Falklands conflict in 1982. The AW159 Lynx Wildcat, originally referred to as the Future Lynx, represents the most modern standard and was introduced in 2014.
The Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH) program demonstrated that Future Lynx, a further development of proven Super Lynx 300, had the potential to meet future requirements of both the British Army and the Royal Navy. The Future Lynx features new airframe, advanced avionics, new engines, and a service life of 25/30 years. AgustaWestland's Future Lynx program was selected by the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defense (MoD) on March 24, 2005, to fulfill the future land and sea helicopter requirements of the British Armed Forces. The program value was estimated at £1 billion. On 22 June 2006, the UK MoD and AgustaWestland signed a Strategic Partnering Arrangement (SPA) for the development and production of 70 Future Lynx under a contract not to exceed £1 billion ($1.73 billion). The development phase was valued at £380 million with first deliveries due in 2011. Future Lynx or FLynx was planned to reach initial operational capability (IOC) in 2014 within the British Army and one year later, 2015, with the Royal Navy. Seventy FLynxs will be delivered to the UK MoD with the Army receiving 40 helicopters and the Royal Navy the remaining 30 aircraft with options for an additional 10 (5/5). The aircraft was re-named the AW159 Wildcat and the final arrangement called for the production of 28 Royal Navy Wildcat HMA and 34 British Army Wildcat AH1 helicopters.
The British Army's Wildcat AH1 helicopter has been designed to perform a wide range of missions such as battlefield reconnaissance, casualty evacuation (MEDEVAC) and troop transport. It features a configurable cockpit display, networked enabled capability, more powerful engines, better defensive aids and a new four-blade tail rotor system. Technology improvements mean that the aircraft has greater reliability, resulting in significant reductions to support and maintenance costs over life of the aircraft which could last for up to thirty years. Powered by two LHTEC CTS800-4N engines each rated at 1,361-shp and a 12,000-hour fatigue life airframe Wildcat is the most advanced and capable Lynx variant fielded so far. A new low set symmetric tailplane has been incorporated to improve flying qualities and larger cockpit doors have been designed to improve crew egress. Wildcat with its CTS800-4N engines will have an endurance of approximately 3 hours with standard fuel and 4.5 hours with auxiliary fuel. The British Army's Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter (BRH) is provided with BOWMAN connectivity enabling network-centric operations. The British Army plans call for the procurement of 34 Wildcat AH1 beginning in 2014 through 2020.
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