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Agusta Details Future Lynx Order, Design (Jun 23)

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the award of a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 70 Future Lynx helicopters. The programme valued at just under £1 billion will provide the British Army and Royal Navy with 40 and 30 Future Lynx helicopters respectively. An option has also been placed for a further 10 aircraft split equally between the Army and Royal Navy. The contract award was announced today by Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement, and is the first contract to be awarded under the Strategic Partnering Arrangement between the MoD and AgustaWestland, which was also signed today.

The contract, awarded to AgustaWestland, will see the replacement of existing Army and Royal Navy Lynx helicopters with a much more capable version incorporating advanced technology which will deliver more capability and reduce whole life costs. The Future Lynx programme will support over 800 high technology jobs across the UK.

The first flight of the first Future Lynx will take place in late 2009 with initial deliveries starting in 2011. Future Lynx will enter operational service in 2014 with the British Army and 2015 with the Royal Navy.

The Air Vehicle

Future Lynx is a new air vehicle that builds on the dynamic and vehicle systems of the existing Lynx design. It also incorporates new systems developed for Super Lynx 300 and delivers enhanced systems that provide a more capable air vehicle. The British Army and Royal Navy Future Lynx will have a common fully marinised airframe with provisions for a range of mission and role equipment in support of its multi-role capability.

The aircraft has a built-in mass growth provision to allow incremental cost-effective capability upgrades from the In Service Date Maximum All Up Mass (MAUM) of 5790 kg through to an Out of Service Date MAUM of 6250 kg. The 12,000-hour fatigue life airframe also incorporates monolithic machined aluminium structural parts to reduce component count and maintenance and has improved crashworthiness features designed to meet military 90th percentile potentially survivable crash case conditions.

A new low set symmetric tailplane has been incorporated to improve flying qualities and larger cockpit doors have been designed to improve crew egress. The redesigned nose and rear fuselage give greater space and easier access to avionic units while an all new up-rated common undercarriage with strengthened attachments has been designed to meet the aircraft’s MAUM of 6,250 kg.

Future Lynx will be powered by two LHTEC CTS800 engines each rated at 1015 kW (1361 shp) which give the aircraft greatly improved hot and high performance and single engine performance over existing Army and Royal Navy Lynx helicopters. The CTS800 engines provide 36% greater power than the Gem engines used in current MoD Lynx helicopters for very similar fuel consumption.

Future Lynx with its CTS800 engines will have an endurance of approximately 3 hours with standard fuel and 4.5 hours with auxiliary fuel while being able to carry half as much again as current Lynx helicopters.

The existing composite main rotor blades will be used and married with an all new 4-blade tail rotor to give improved yaw control at high weights and a new common undercarriage with improved crashworthiness has been designed.

Future Lynx will also feature a range of equipment to enhance its survivability including crashworthy/armoured crew seating, crashworthy passenger seating, ‘role fit’ armoured cabin floor, Wire Strike Protection System, a proven Integrated Defensive Aids Suite and an engine Infra-Red Suppression (IRS) system on the Army aircraft.

Future Lynx will also be equipped with an Integrated Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) to improve safety and reduce cost of ownership.

Mission Capability

Future Lynx will have a comprehensive and highly capable integrated avionics suite that enables and supports all aspects of the Army and Royal Navy missions. The basic aircraft avionics suite, consisting of navigation and communication systems, is controlled and managed by twin Control Display and Navigation Units (CDNU). Display of primary flight information is via four Smiths Industries 10”x8” Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) Integrated Display Units (IDU). This suite is designed to achieve high levels of availability, flexibility, redundancy and safety. It provides excellent navigation and communication facilities to enable maximum performance from the associated mission sensor suite.

Mission systems are managed by a Tactical Processor (TP) jointly developed by General Dynamics (UK) and AgustaWestland. Display and management of tactical views and control of the sensor suite is via the Integrated Display Units and a Cursor Control Device. Human Machine Interface (HMI) issues have been, and will continue to be, designed to minimize crew workload through extensive simulation and trials with Army and Royal Navy operators and MoD subject matter experts.

Prior to commencement of a mission, the Mission Planning System (MPS) can receive and process relevant mission information, including Mission Orders, Tactical Airspace Information, Meteorological and Geographical Data. This enables missions to be planned for multiple platforms. These plans can be rehearsed in either 2D or 3D and replanned to suit.
Accurate position Information is obtained from the navigation suite, which is based around an Integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) Inertial system, providing highly accurate and reliable data to support pilotage and mission sensor performance.

Both Army and Royal Navy variants are able to visually detect distant targets in a variety of demanding meteorological conditions using a stabilised Electro-Optic Device (EOD). The Royal Navy variant has a 360° scanning digital colour radar system designed to enable it to meet its Maritime Surveillance role.

Offensive capability and self protection are provided on both variants via role fit of a pintle mounted General Purpose Machine Gun or M3M Heavy Machine Guns (HMG). The ability to conduct third party designation of targets, particularly for Apache AH Mk1, is enabled by using the role-fit Laser Target Designator and Range Finder fitted within the EOD.

The Royal Navy variant retains the Sting Ray torpedoes from Lynx Mk8, and will be fitted with a new Stores Management System, carrier and launcher. This is in order to deploy a new missile or rocket system that will replace the Sea Skua as part of the Future Air to Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programme.

Future Lynx is fitted with a communications suite based upon the Thales Avionics Secure Communications Control System developed for the Mk8 Lynx. Plain and secure voice communication is provided via the V/UHF SATURN and HF radios. BOWMAN radio functionality is also provided, giving the Army variant the ability to interact within the BOWMAN network, exchanging secure voice and data communications. The Naval variant will have an ESM and data link capability.

New technology onboard will also mean reductions to support and maintenance costs over the life of the aircraft which will stay in service for thirty years. An integrated operational support package and training programme is currently being developed with the MoD in order to meet entry into service and through life requirements.

The current Lynx entered service with the Royal Navy and the Army in the mid-1970s in anti-submarine and utility roles. Since then the aircraft has taken on an increasingly wide range of roles including: anti-surface warfare, battlefield reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, airborne command post, logistical support and tactical troop transport. Future Lynx will help preserve and extend this operational capability for the Royal Navy and the Army.

A successful Assessment phase, which was completed earlier this year, demonstrated that Future Lynx met the required BRH and SCMR requirements within the cost, time and performance targets set by the UK MoD. In April 2005 the UK Government announced the selection of Future Lynx for the British Army’s and Royal Navy’s requirements with detailed technical and commercial discussions subsequently taking place leading to contract award in June 2006.

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is one of the largest helicopter companies in the world. The company offers an unrivalled range of helicopters, training and support solutions to satisfy the requirements of civil and military customers. AgustaWestland has its primary operations in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

AgustaWestland Awarded Future Lynx Contract