Navy may get new version of battle-proven Lynx helicopter
Royal Navy frigates and destroyers could be equipped with a new and considerably updated version of the long-serving and highly effective naval Lynx helicopter, Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach announced today at the unveiling of the new Malaysian Super Lynx 300 at Farnborough.
A contract worth up to £10 million to assess the suitability of Future Lynx for use by the Royal Navy will shortly be awarded. The study will run in parallel with another study already under way into use of the aircraft by the Army.
Speaking after attending the unveiling of Super Lynx, where he accompanied the Malaysian Defence Minister, Lord Bach said:
"Lynx has served the Royal Navy with distinction since the 1970s all over the world and has demonstrated its first class military capabilities in the Falklands conflict and the Gulf War.
"These aircraft will need replacement in the next six years and we believe that Future Lynx offers great potential to fill this. Today's announcement gives Agusta Westland the opportunity to prove it can successfully deliver on this key capability."
If Future Lynx is selected for the Royal Navy, the programme could be worth up to £400 million.
Notes to Editors
1. The programme for a new helicopter for RN frigates and destroyers is called the Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft (SCMR). The equivalent programme for the Army is the Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH). An earlier study by the Ministry of Defence has already shown that Future Lynx has the potential to meet the needs of both Services, these additional studies will further evaluate its potential and also examine alternatives.
2. Both programmes are managed by the Lynx Integrated Project Team, based at MoD Abbey Wood and Yeovilton. The project manager is Jim Barker.
3. Future Lynx is a development of the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300, the latest export version of the Lynx. Super Lynx 300 has an improved airframe which should allow a service life of at least 25 years, a new engine which will operate more effectively in hot and high conditions, and a modern avionics suite. Future Lynx has a greater load carrying ability and further avionics improvements. A full order for the required Royal Navy aircraft fleet could be worth up to £400M for Westland and help protect jobs in the company's Yeovil plant.
Last Updated: 4 Feb 05