Upgraded Army Lynx Fleet Complete
The last of 22 Lynx Mk9 support helicopters to be upgraded to Mk9A standard has been handed over to the Army Air Corps in a ceremony at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil plant in Somerset in mid December 2011.
The upgrade, enabling the Lynx to operate in Afghanistan’s extreme climatic conditions, includes a more powerful T800 engine, updated instruments and digital displays, and a modified gearbox and rear fuselage to accommodate the new powerplant. The new systems have also been designed for ease of maintenance, enabling faster servicing and turnaround between missions. The Lynx role includes fire support, troop transport and casualty evacuation.
The Commanding Officer of 9 Regt Army Air Corps, Lt Col Mike Keating, said: “The Mk9A has revolutionised the provision of Light Utility Helicopter support on Op Herrick. Operationally credible and capable, the Lynx Mk9A’s performance and reliability enable the enduring provision of escort and overwatch to support helicopters and ground troops alike. A delight to operate and maintain, the platform’s utility continues to expand as its versatility in theatre increases on a daily basis.”
The initial £70M contract was awarded to AgustaWestland under an Urgent Operational Requirement in March 2009, with the first Mk9A delivered to operations only 18 months later. A £62M contract extension covered the remaining ten aircraft in March 2010.