On March 21, 1971, the United Kingdom’s Westland Lynx helicopter took its first flight. Designed and manufactured by Westland Helicopters, this helicopter served many purposes for the UK military. The Lynx was originally planned as both a civil and a naval utility aircraft. The military eventually took an interest in the Westland Lynx, which led to variants which could be utilized in battle. After its initial introduction in 1978, the Westland Lynx was implemented by military forces in over a dozen different countries.
Brief Look at the Lynx
The history of the Lynx began around the mid-1960s. Westland intended to replace its Scout and Wasp with an aircraft design that would improve on the already advanced UH-1 Iroquois design. This resulted in the design and successful production of the world’s first complete aerobatic helicopter – a helicopter which by 1972 began breaking world speed records.
French Navy Aviation began using the Mk.2 (FN) variant of the Lynx helicopter in 1979. That same year, the Army Air Corps introduced the Lynx AH.1 variant into its service. Just two years later in 1981, the Fleet Air Army began using the Lynx HAS.2, a design which was upgraded in the 1980s to the HAS.3 and then again in the 1990s to the HMA.8. The majority of the Lynx for the Army were eventually upgraded to the Lynx AH.7.
In 1991 during the Gulf War, the Sea Skua used Lynx helicopters against Iraq’s Navy. Variants have also been involved in the Falkland War and the 2003 Iraq invasion. Today, Lynx variants (AH.7 and AH.9) are used by the FAA as attack/utility helicopters offering support to the Royal Marines. Other variants – the Lynx HAS.3 and HMA.8 - are equipped with Stingray torpedoes and function as anti-sub warfare and maritime attack helicopters. These two variants can also be equipped with FN Herstal M3M pintle mounted heavy machine guns and used for anti-trafficking and anti-piracy missions.
Primary users of the Westland Lynx include the British Army, the Royal Navy, the French Navy and the German Navy.
- Crew: 2 - 3
- Troop Capacity: 10
- Maximum Take-off Weight: 11,750 lbs.
- Maximum Speed: 201 miles per hour
- Range: 328 miles
- 2x torpedoes
- 4x Sea Skua missiles or 2x depth charges
- 2x20mm cannons
- 2x70mm rocket pod CRV7
- 8xTOW ATGM
- 7.62mm General Purpose machine Guns
- Browning AN/M3M .50 cal heavy machine guns
The United Kingdom’s Westland Lynx remains in production to this day and remains one of the top aircraft designs of modern day warfare.