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XZ643 Westland Lynx AH.7 c/n 178 - Army Air Corps (AAC) 1st Regiment - Gütersloh Air Base in Germany - 30 June 2010 Westland Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A

The Westland WG13 Lynx is a military two-engine, multi-purpose, ASW and transport helicopter designed by the British manufacturer Westland Helicopters, in cooperation with Aérospatiale in France. In fact, the origins of the Lynx go back to early 1957, when Bristol Helicopter began developing their Type 203, a single engined, eleven-seat Sycamore and Whirlwind replacement. The basic design was scaled up in 1959 to the twin-engined Type 214. The following year Bristol Helicopter Division merged with Fairey's and Saunders-Roe under the Westland banner and in 1963 the research and development that had gone in the Type 203 and Type 214 resulted in the WG.3. The Westland Helicopters' development programm initially consisted of four planned projects that included a civillian helicopter as a replacement for the Whirlwind and Wessex helicopters; an army helicopter; a navy helicopter and a two-seat attack helicopter. The Westland WG.3 aimed at replacing the Whirlwind, Sycamore, Scout and Wasp. Further development of the helicopter resulted via the WG.3C in the WG.13D as a replacement for the Aérospatiale Alouette II; Westland Scout and Westland Wasp helicopters in service by the British Navy and Army Air Corps. The two-seat attack helicopter was ultimately not developed and the civillian helicopter project resulted in the development of the Westland WG.30 Super Lynx, later known as Westland 30. The original Westland WG.13D evolved to the WG.13 pre-producion design. The WG.13 Lynx used many components derived from the Scout and Wasp. Among the new features was the design of the rotor head, blades and gearbox. The rotor itself was new, being a semi-rigid titanium rotor head with honeycomb sandwich blades. The first of 13 development Lynxes, prototype 00-01 "XW835", flew first at Yeovil on 21 March 1971. The XW835 was powered by two Rolls-Royce BS.360 turboshaft engines, specifically developed for the Westland Lynx helicopter and known as the Rolls-Royce Gem. The first production example, Lynx HAS Mk.2 c/n 001 "XZ227" the ASW version for the Royal Navy, flew on 10 February 1976. The Westland Lynx AH Mk.1, the British Army Air Corps utility version, flew first on 11 February 1977. From the first Westland WG.13 Lynx protototype, a wide range of Lynx variants were developed. The latest development is the AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat that flew first on 12 November 2009.

The UK MoD initially ordered 160 Westland Lynx helicopters: sixty Lynx HAS.2 for the Royal Navy and hundred Lynx AH.1 for the British Army. Over the years, the AAC - Army Air Corps, operated Westland Lynxes in the main variants: Lynx AH.1; Lynx AH.5; Lynx AH.7; Lynx AH.9 and Lynx AH.9A.
Lynx AH.1 (Army Helicopter Mark 1) - initial production version for the British Army Air Corps, with skids, powered by Roll-Royce Gem 2 turboshafts. Entered service in 1978, and deliveries continuing until February 1984. Used for  tactical transport, armed escort,  reconnaissance and casualty evacuation;
Lynx AH.1 ( TOW Lynx ) - from 1981, sixty Lynx AH.1s were retrofitted for anti-tank warfare with eight TOW missiles (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided missile);
Lynx AH.1GT - Interim conversion of the AH.1 to partial AH.7 standard with uprated engines and revised tail rotor;
Lynx AH.5 - upgraded version with Rolls-Royce Gem 41-1 engines and uprated gearbox;.
Lynx AH.5X - trials aircraft for UK MoD;
Lynx AH.7 - upgraded version with Rolls-Royce Gem 41-1 engines and uprated gearbox of Lynx AH.5 and new, larger, composite tail rotor. Later refitted with BERP type rotor blade design, developed under the British Experimental Rotor Programme. Twelve new build, with 107 Lynx AH.1s;
Lynx AH.9 ( Battlefield Lynx ) - Utility version based on AH.7, but with wheeled undercarriage and further upgraded gearbox. Sixteen new-built plus eight converted from AH.7s;
Lynx AH.9A - AH.9 with uprated Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company CTS800-4N turboshaft engines. 22 are to be upgraded. In 2009, the re-engine the remainder of the Army Air Corps (AAC) Lynx AH. 9 helicopters to bring them up to Mk 9A standard started. The out of service date for the Lynx Mk 9A has been extended to 2016.
In December 2008, the MoD announced that the AAC will get a replacement for its current Lynx helicopter. The replacement will be supplied by AgustaWestland; the AW159 Lynx Wildcat. The initial budget for the aircraft was announced as £1billion for 70 aircraft; with a mix of both navy and battlefield reconnaissance helicopters. This was then adjusted to 62 aircraft. The AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat programme will deliver a fleet of 62 new light helicopters for the Army and Royal Navy from 2014 and 2015 respectively.

On 16 May 1980, Westland Lynx AH.1 XZ643 was flown first and entered service with the AAC on 14 June 1980. Since, the XZ643 was upgraded to a Lynx AH.7.
Westland Lynx AH.7 XZ643 was in service with 1st Regiment Army Air Corps ( 1 REGT AAC) when seen at Gütersloh Air Base in Germany on 30 June 2010.

page last updated: 13-03-2011
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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