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83+18 GKN Westland Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A c/n 420 - German Navy MFG5 - Flugplatz Emden in Germany - 1 June 2017 Flugplatz Emden (EDWE)

The Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A, also known as the Super Lynx 100 series, is another upgrade of the Lynx family. 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 Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A, also known as the Super Lynx 100 series, features the Marconi Sea Spray 3000 radar with a 360-degree antenna, a multi-role turret (MRT) forward-looking infrared set on the nose and BAe Matra Sea Skua anti-shipping missiles. The Super Sea Lynx Mk 88A is a special version for the German Marineflieger, which ordered seven in 1996. Formal roll-out of the first Mk 88A for the German Navy occurred at Westlands Yeovil works on 14 July 1999. In addition to the seven Mk.88A ordered, the remaining seventeen Mk.88 airframes of the Marineflieger, delivered already in 1982, were modified up to Mk.88A Super Sea Lynx standard at the Donauwörth plant of Eurocopter Deutschland. These helicopters received completely new fuselages but retained their original engines, flying controls, hydraulics, avionics and electrical systems. Upgrades and modifications to the tail rotor system completed the conversion. The Lynx Mk.88A fleet of total twenty-four units is operated by the Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (MFG 5) based at Nordholz, but operates also from Type 122 and 123-class frigates. Normally, two Super Sea Lynx will be on board to perform ASuW/ASW tasks, next to these the helicopter has a secondary over-the-horizon-targeting role, guiding F122-class-fired Harpoon missiles.

The 1988-built Westland Sea Lynx Mk.88 c/n 344 was flown first as ZG870 with Westland Helicopters Ltd in the UK. On 16 December 1988, the helicopter was delivered to the Federal Republic of Germany and entered service with the West German Navy as 83+18 with Bundesmarine Marinefliegergeschwader 3 (MFG 3) "Graf Zeppelin". The Sea Lynx 83+23 was operated by MFG 3 till the airframe was withdrawn from use and rebuilt by Eurocopter Deutschland in co-operation with Westland as the Westland Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A c/n 420. On 13 November 2002, the Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A helicopter was restored in service with the German Navy as 83+18 and as before operated by MFG 3 "Graf Zeppelin" till 1 October 2012. On that date, the MFG 3 was reformed officially to a fixed-wing unit only and the Lynx helicopters were transferred to the Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (MFG 5) at Naval Air Station Nordholz. Over the years, the Super Sea Lynx 83+18 was modified several times by Eurocopter Germany. On 1 June 2017, the MARINE MFG 5' GKN Westland Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A 83+18 was seen when it made a RNAV approach at Flugplatz Emden during a training flight.

page last updated 02-06-2017
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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