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The initial design (then known as the Westland WG.13) was started in the mid-1960s as a replacement for the Westland Scout and Wasp, and a more advanced alternative to the UH-1 Iroquois. As part of the Anglo-French helicopter agreement signed in February 1967, the French company Aérospatiale were given a work share in the manufacturing programme. Aérospatiale received 30% of production with Westland performing the remainder. It was intended that France would buy Lynxes for its Navy and as an armed reconnaissance helicopter for the French Army, with the United Kingdom in return buying Aérospatiale Gazelles and Pumas for its armed forces. The French Army cancelled its requirement for Lynxes in October 1969.

The original Lynx design was powered by two Rolls-Royce Gem 2 turboshaft engines, and used many components derived from the Scout and Wasp. However, the rotor was new, being of a semi-rigid design with honeycomb sandwich blades. The first Lynx prototype took its maiden flight on 21 March 1971.

XX153 which broke the Helicopter speed record in 1972 In 1972, a Lynx broke the world speed record over 15 and 25 km by flying at 321.74 km/h (199.92 mph). It also set a new 100 km closed circuit record shortly afterwards, flying at 318.504 km/h (197.91 mph). Over 100 Lynxes were ordered by the British Army as the Lynx AH.1 (Army Helicopter Mark 1) for different roles, such as transport, armed escort, anti-tank warfare (with eight TOW missiles), reconnaissance and evacuation. The Army has fitted a Marconi Elliot AFCS system onto the Lynx for automatic stabilisation on three axis. Deliveries of production Lynxes began in 1977.

An improved Lynx AH.1 with Gem 41-1 or Gem 42 engines and an uprated transmission was referred to as the Lynx AH.5; only five were built for evaluation purposes. The AH.5 led to the Lynx AH.7, which added a new tail rotor derived from that of the Westland 30, a reinforced airframe, improved avionics and defensive aids. These received further upgrades in service, including British Experimental Rotor Programme (BERP) rotor blades.

The initial naval variant of the Lynx, known as the Lynx HAS.2 in British service, or Lynx Mk.2(FN) in French service, differed from the Lynx AH.1 in being equipped with a tricycle undercarriage and a deck restraint systems, folding main rotor blades, an emergency floatation system and a nose-mounted radar. An improved Lynx for the Royal Navy, the Lynx HAS.3, had Gem 42-1 Mark 204 engines, an uprated transmission, a new floatation system and an Orange Crop ESM system. The Lynx HAS.3 also received various other updates in service. A similar upgrade to the French Lynx was known as the Lynx Mk.4(FN). Many different export variants based on the Lynx HAS.2 and HAS.3 were sold to other air arms.

In 1986, the former company demonstrator Lynx, registered G-LYNX, was specially modified with Gem 60 engines and BERP rotor blades. On 11 August 1986 the helicopter was piloted by Trevor Egginton when it set an absolute speed record for helicopters over a 15 and 25 km course by reaching 400.87 km/h (249.09 mph); an official record it currently holds.



Technical Specifications



2x Rolls-Royce Gem turboshaft, 835 kW (1,120 shp) each



Length: 15.241 m (50 ft), Rotor diameter: 12.80 m (42 ft), Height: 3.734 m for mk7; 3.785 m for mk9 (12.25 ft for mk7; 12.41 ft for mk9) Disc area: 128.71 m² (1,385 ft²)



Empty weight: 3,291 kg (7,255 lb), Max takeoff weight: 5,330 kg (11,750 lb)



Maximum speed: 324 km/h (201 mph)



Naval: 2 x torpedoes or 4x Sea Skua missiles or 2 x depth charges. Attack: 2 x 20mm cannons, 2 x 70mm rocket pods CRV7, 8 x TOW ATGM General: 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (AH.7 and AH.9), Browning AN/M3M .50 calibre heavy machine gun (HAS.3 and HMA.8).


Role: Light Attack Helicopter, Cargo Transport

Builder: Westland

Variants: AH Lynx, HAS Lynx

Operators: Algerian Air Force, Argentine Navy, Brazilian Navy, Royal Danish Navy, French Navy, German Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Nigerian Navy, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman, Pakistan Navy, Portuguese Navy , South African Air Force, Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Thai Navy, United Kingdom