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The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovilmarker. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants, which went into operational usage in 1977 and were later adopted by the armed forces of over a dozen nations, where it primarily serves in the battlefield utility, anti-armour, search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare roles. In 1984 a modified Lynx broke the airspeed record for helicopters, which still stands today. The helicopter is now produced and marketed by AgustaWestland.


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 Britain in return buying Aérospatiale Gazelles and Puma 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.

In 1972, a Lynx broke the world speed record over 15 and 25 km by flying at . It also set a new 100 km closed circuit record shortly afterwards, flying at .

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 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); a record it currently holds.


Announced in 1984, the Lynx-3 was an enhanced Lynx development, with a stretched fuselage, a redesigned tailboom and tail surfaces, Gem 60-3/1 engines and a new wheeled tricycle undercarriage. The Lynx-3 also included BERP rotor blades, and increased fuel capacity.Eden 2004, pp. 495, 497. Both Army and Naval variants were proposed. The project was ended in 1987 due to insufficient orders. Only one Army Lynx-3 prototype was built.

Super Lynx and Battlefield Lynx

A development of the Lynx AH.7 with the wheeled undercarriage of the Lynx-3 was marketed by Westland as the Battlefield Lynx in the late 1980s. The prototype first flew in November 1989 and deliveries began in 1991. This variant entered British Army service as the Lynx AH.9.

In the early 1990s, Westland incorporated some of the technology from the Naval Lynx-3 design into a less-radical Super Lynx. This featured BERP rotor blades, the Westland 30-derived tail rotor, Gem 42 engines, a new under-nose 360-degree radar installation and an optional nose-mounted electro-optical sensor turret. Royal Navy Lynx HAS.3s upgraded to Super Lynx standard were known in service as the Lynx HMA.8, and several export customers ordered new-build or upgraded Super Lynxes. Later, Westland offered the Super Lynx 200 with LHTEC CTS800 engines and the Super Lynx 300, which also had a new cockpit and avionics derived from the AgustaWestland EH101. Both of these models have achieved several export sales.

Future Lynx/Lynx Wildcat

The British Army and Royal Navy Lynx fleets are due to be upgraded to a new common advanced Lynx variant based on the Super Lynx 300, with a new tailboom, undercarriage, cockpit, avionics and sensors. Initially referred to as the Future Lynx, this type has since been renamed by AgustaWestland as the AW159 Lynx Wildcat.

Operational history

A French Navy Lynx helicopter taking off from the Ouragan

The Lynx Mk.2(FN) entered service with the French Navy's Aviation navale in 1979. In British service, the Lynx is used by the Army Air Corps (AAC) and the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). The Lynx AH.1 entered service with the AAC in 1979, followed by the Lynx HAS.2 with the FAA in 1981. The FAA Lynx fleet was upgraded to Lynx HAS.3 standard during the 1980s, and again to Lynx HMA.8 standard in the 1990s. Most Army Lynx were later upgraded to Lynx AH.7 standard.

, the AAC operate the Lynx AH.7 and AH.9 as utility helicopters. Army owned Lynx AH.7 and AH.9 are also in service with the FAA where they operate as attack/utility helicopters in support of the Royal Marines. Lynx HAS.3 and HMA.8 operate as anti-submarine warfare and maritime attack helicopters equipped with the Stingray torpedo, Sea Skua anti-ship missile and depth charge for Royal Navy warships.

The Lynx's most prominent combat role was operating the Sea Skua to devastating effect against the Iraqi Navy during the 1991 Gulf War. The Lynx also saw service with British Army forces during that conflict. The HAS.2 naval ASW variant had already taken part in combat operations in British service during the Falklands War in 1982. None were shot down, but three were lost aboard vessels hit by Argentine bombs or Exocets, one on the MV Atlantic Conveyormarker and one each on board HMS Coventry and HMS Ardent.

It was used during Operation Barrasmarker to rescue 11 British soldiers in Sierra Leonemarker on 10 September 2000.

The most recent wartime mission for the Lynx was during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It has also seen extensive service during peacekeeping operations and exercises, and it is standard equipment for most Royal Navy surface combatants when they deploy.

A British Lynx from 847 Naval Air Squadron was shot down over Basra, Iraq on 6 May 2006. The helicopter is believed to have been downed by either a missile or more likely, a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). The Lynx crashed into a house and burst into flames, killing all five on board, including the Commanding Officer of 847 NAS. A riot followed with locals celebrating the downing of the helicopter and surrounding the crash site as British troops rushed to the scene. This was the first British helicopter and only the second British aircraft downed (the first was an RAF Hercules) due to enemy fire in the war. A flight of either AAC or RM Lynx AH.7s are based at Basra Air Station under command of the Joint Helicopter Force on a rotational basis, but are restricted operationally during the summer months due to the very high daytime temperatures which affect lifting capacity and endurance dramatically.

The Super Lynx has been used extensively by the Portuguese Navy in Operation Ocean Shield. It operates from NRP Alvares Cabral and has been fitted with a FN M3M 12.7mm machine gun.


The Lynx is a multi-purpose helicopter design with a side by side cockpit for pilot and observer. It features a large sliding crew door on each side giving access to the cabin which can be used to accommodate up to 9 troops dependant on seating configuration, or alternatively radio equipment when used in the command post role or surplus fuel for long journeys. Its twin Rolls Royce Gem turboshaft engines power a four-blade semi-rigid main rotor system. The Lynx is an agile helicopter, capable of performing loops and rolls.


Land-based variants

A British Army Lynx AH 7 in Bosnia during Operation Joint Endeavor - Peace Implementation Force (IFOR), May 7th 1996

Westland WG.13
Prototype, first flight 21 March 1971. Thirteen prototypes built.
Lynx AH.1
Initial production version for the British Army Air Corps, powered by 671 kW (900 hp) Gem 2 engines, with first production example flying 11 February 1977, and deliveries continuing until February 1984, with 113 built. Used for a variety of tasks, including tactical transport, armed escort, anti-tank warfare (60 were equipped with eight TOW missiles as Lynx AH.1 (TOW) from 1981), reconnaissance and casualty evacuation.
;Lynx AH.1GT
:Interim conversion of the AH.1 to partial AH.7 standard for the Army Air Corps with uprated engines and revised tail rotor.
Lynx HT.1
Planned training version for Royal Air Force. Cancelled.
Lynx AH.5
Upgraded version for the Army Air Corps, with 835 kW (1,120 shp) Gem 41-1 engines and uprated gearbox. Three built as AH.5 (Interim) as Trials aircraft for MoD. Eight ordered as AH.5s for Army Air Corps, of which only two built as AH.5s, with remaining six completed as AH.7s. Four were later upgraded to AH.7 standard and one was retained for trials work as an AH.5X.
Lynx AH.6
Proposed version for the Royal Marines with undercarriage, folding tail and deck harpoon of Naval Lynx. Not built.
Lynx AH.7
Further upgraded version for the Army Air Corps, with Gem 41-1 engines and uprated gearbox of AH.5 and new, larger, composite tail rotor. Ltaer refitted with BERP type rotor blades. Twelve new build, with 107 Lynx AH.1s converted. A small number also used by the Fleet Air Arm in support of the Royal Marines. Now replaced by the WAH-64 Apache as the main attack helicopter.
;Lynx AH.7(DAS)
:AH.7 with Defensive Aids Subsystem.
Lynx AH.9 ("Battlefield Lynx")
Utility version for Army Air Corps, 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 LHTEC CTS800-4N engines. 22 are to be upgraded.

Naval variants

Lynx HAS.2 / Mk.2(FN)
Initial production version for the Royal Navy (HAS.2) and the French Navy (Mk.2(FN)), powered by Gem 2 engines and with wheeled undercarriage, folding rotors and tail and deck harpoon. HAS.2 equipped with British Sea Spray radar, with Mk.2(FN) having French radar and dipping sonar. When it is used in the anti-submarine role, it can carry two torpedoes or depth charges. For anti-surface warfare, it is equipped with either four Sea Skua missiles (Royal Navy) or four AS.12 missiles (French Navy). 60 built for Royal Navy, and 26 for France.
Lynx HAS.3
Improved version of HAS.2 powered by Gem 42-1 engines and with upgraded gearbox. Thirty built from new, with deliveries starting in March 1982 and all remaining HAS.2s (53 aircraft) converted to HAS.3 standards.
;Lynx HAS.3S
:Improved version of the HAS.3 for the Royal Navy fitted with secure radio systems.
;Lynx HAS.3GM
:Modified helicopters for the Royal Navy, for service in the Persian Gulfmarker, with improved electronic warfare equipment, revised IFF and provision for FLIR under fuselage. Originally deployed for 1990-91 Gulf War. Designated HAS.3S/GM when fitted with secure radios. (GM denotes Gulf Modification).
;Lynx HAS.3ICE
:HAS.3 modified for Antarctic service aboard ice patrol ship HMS Endurance. Designated HAS.3SICE when fitted with secure radios.
;Lynx HAS.3CTS
:HAS.3 upgraded with avionics system proposed for HMA.8. Seven converted as test beds.
Lynx Mk.4(FN)
Upgraded version for the Aéronavale, with Gem 42-1 engines. Fourteen built.
Lynx HMA.8:Upgraded maritime attack version based on Super Lynx 100. Gem 42-200 engines, BERP type main rotors and larger tail rotor of AH.7. Fitted with FLIR in turret above nose, with radar moved to radome below nose.
;Lynx HMA.8(DSP)
:Digital Signal Processor.
;Lynx HMA.8(DAS)
:Defensive Aids Subsystem. (DSP aircraft modified).
;Lynx HMA.8(SRU)
:SATURN (Second-generation Anti-jam Tactical UHF Radio for NATO) Radio Upgrade. (DAS aircraft modified. Incorporates SIFF (Successor to IFF)).
;Lynx HMA.8(CMP) see note below
:Combined Mods Programme. (SRU aircraft modified with improved comms and defensive systems).

Note: At the time of writing, all HMA.8 aircraft have been upgraded to DAS standard, all but one of those have been upgraded to SRU standard. All SRU aircraft have been modified to CMP standard and as such HMA.8(CMP) aircraft have since been re-designated back to HMA.8(SRU). All Lynx HAS.8 will eventually be at the CMP/SRU standard. The first CMP entered service in late 2008.

Export variants

Lynx Mk.21
Export version of the HAS.2 for the Brazilian Navy. Brazilian navy designation SAH-11. Nine delivered.
Super Lynx Mk.21A
Version of the Super Lynx (based on HAS.Mk.8) for the Brazilian navy, with Gem 42 engines and 360° traverse Seaspray 3000 radar under nose. Nine new build helicopters plus upgrades of remaining five original Mk.21s.
Lynx Mk.22
Unbuilt export version for the Egyptian Navy.
Lynx Mk.23
Export version of the HAS.2 for the Argentine Navy. Two built. Grounded due to British embargo on spares following Falklands War. Single surviving helicopter later sold to Denmark.
Lynx Mk.24
Unbuilt export utility version for the Iraqi army.
Lynx Mk.25
Export version of the HAS.2 for the Royal Netherlands Navy. Designated UH-14A in Dutch service. Used for utility and SAR roles.
Lynx Mk.26
Unbuilt export armed version for the Iraqi army.
Lynx Mk.27
Export version for the Royal Netherlands Navy with 836 kW (1,120 kW) Gem 4 engines. Equipped for ASW missions with dipping sonar. Designated SH-14B in Dutch service. 10 built.
Lynx Mk.28
Export version of the AH.1 for the Qatarmarker Police. Three built.
Lynx Mk.64
Export version of the Super Lynx for the South African Air Forcemarker.
Lynx Mk.80
Export version for the Royal Danish Navy based on the HAS.3 but with non-folding tail. Eight built.
Lynx Mk.81
Upgraded ASW version for the Royal Netherlands Navy, powered by Gem 41 engines with no sonar but fitted with towed Magnetic anomaly detector. Designated SH-14C in Dutch service, and mainly used for training and utility purposes. Eight built.
UH-14A/SH-14B/SH-14C Lynx upgraded to a common standard by the Royal Netherlands Navy under the STAMOL programme with Gem 42 engines, provision for dipping sonar and FLIR. 22 upgraded.
Lynx Mk.82
Unbuilt export version for the Egyptian army.
Lynx Mk.83
Unbuilt export version for the Saudi Arabian army.
Lynx Mk 84
Unbuilt export version for the Qatar army.
Lynx Mk 85
Unbuilt export version for the United Arab Emirates army.
Lynx Mk.86
Export SAR version of the HAS.2 for the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
Lynx Mk.87
Embargoed export version of the Argentine navy. Two built. Later sold to Denmark as Mk.90.
Lynx Mk.88
Export version for the German Navy with Gem 42 engines, and dipping sonar. Nineteen built. Super Lynx Mk.88A is an upgraded version with Gem 42 engines, under-nose radome with 360°traverse radar and FLIR above nose. Seven new build helicopters plus conversion of Mk.88s. Naval Lynx HAS.3 / HAS.3 Export Variants., 1 January 2009.
Lynx Mk.89
Export version of HAS.3 for the Nigerian navy. Three built.
Lynx Mk.90
Export version for the Royal Danish Navy, modified from embargoed Argentine Mk.87s. Lynx Mk.90A is the upgraded version. The Lynx Mk.90 and Mk.90A were upgraded to Super Lynx standard and designated Mk.90B.
Lynx Mk.95
Version of Super Lynx for the Portuguese Navy, with Bendix radar in undernose radome, dipping sonar but no FLIR. Three new build plus two converted ex-Royal Navy HAS.3s.
Lynx Mk.99
Version of Super Lynx for the South Korean Navy, with Seaspray 3 radar in undernose radome. Twelve built. Super Lynx Mk.99A is similar version with improved rotor, with a further 13 built.
Super Lynx Mk.100
Super Lynx for the Royal Malaysian Navy, with 990 kW (1,327 hp) CTS-800-4N engines. Six built.
Super Lynx Mk.110
Super Lynx 300 for Thai Navy. Four ordered.
Super Lynx Mk.120
Export version for the Royal Air Force of Oman. 16 built.
Super Lynx Mk.130
Export version for the Algerian Navy. Four ordered.
Super Lynx 300
Advanced Super Lynx with CTS-800-4N engines.


Lynx HT.3
Proposed training version for the Royal Air Force, not built.
Enhanced Lynx variant with Westland 30 tail boom and rotor, Gem 60 engines, new wheeled tricycle undercarriage and MIL-STD-1553 databus. Only one prototype built (serial/registration ZE477 / G-17-24) in 1984.
Battlefield Lynx
Proposed export version of Lynx AH.9.
Battlefield Lynx 800
Proposed export version of Lynx AH.9 with LHTEC T800 engines, the project was suspended in 1992. One demonstrator helicopter was built and flight tested.
Lynx ACH
Proposed Advanced Compound Helicopter technology demonstrator, partly funded by the Ministry of Defence. Announced in May 1998, the ACH was planned to be powered by RTM322 engines with variable area exhaust nozzles and a gearbox from the Westland 30-200, have wings attached at cabin roof level and BERP rotor blades. It was predicted to fly approximately 50% faster than a standard Lynx.


Westland 30
medium helicopter based on the Lynx, using some dynamic systems with a new, enlarged fuselage for up to 22 passengers.
AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat
a development of the Super Lynx with two LHTEC CTS800 engines; previously known as the Future Lynx.

NOTES: AH = Army Helicopter, HAS = Helicopter, Anti-Submarine, HMA = Helicopter, Maritime Attack, IFF = Identification Friend or Foe, (GM) = Gulf Modification, (S) = Secure speech radio, and SIFF = Successor to IFF.


Lynx of Royal Danish Navy
Lynx of the Portuguese Navy

Military operators

  • Argentine Navy ordered ten Mk.23s but only two were delivered before the outbreak of the Falklands War and the ensuing arms embargo imposed by the British. To make up for the undelivered aircraft, the Argentines ordered the Eurocopter Fennec. The two delivered helicopters in addition to the undelivered helicopters were later sold to the Danish Navy and Brazilian Navy.
  • Royal Netherlands Navy: 20 Super Lynx SH-14D. Originally received 6 search and rescue (UH-14A/Mk.25) and 18 anti-submarine warfare models (SH-14B/Mk.27 and SH-14C/Mk.81), which have all been upgraded to SH-14D standard for both SAR and ASW duties.
  • Pakistan Navy: 3 Lynx Mk.3 - used for anti-ship / anti-submarine / transport duties. These Aircraft have been retired from service since 2003.

Law Enforcement Operators

Specifications (Super Lynx Series 100)

See also



  • Eden, Paul, ed. "Westland Lynx".Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1904687849.
  • Ethell, Jeffrey and Price, Alfred. Air War South Atlantic. London:Sidgwick and Jackson, 1983. ISBN 0-283-99035-X.
  • Gray, Peter. " New Life For Lynx". Flight International, 16-22 July 2002. pp. 84–90.
  • James, Derek N. Westland Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam, 1991, ISBN 0 85177 847 X.
  • Lake, Jon. "Westland Lynx Variant Briefing:Part 1". World Air Power Journal, Volume 39, Winter 1999. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-86184-039-X. ISSN 0959-7050. pp. 126–141.
  • Lake, Jon. "Westland Lynx Variant Briefing:Part 2". World Air Power Journal, Volume 40, Spring 2000. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-86184-043-X. ISSN 0959-7050. pp. 112–121.
  • Penny, Stewart. " Fitter Feline". Flight International, 16-22 July 2002. pp. 92–95.
  • " T800-engined Lynx set for Paris debut". Flight International, 30 January - 5 February 1991. p. 16.
  • " T800 LYNX PROGRAMME STALLS". Flight International, 11-17 March 1992, p. 18.
  • " Directory:World Air Forces". Flight International, 11-17 November 2008, pp. 52–76.

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