AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the first AW159 multi-role military helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility today with AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot, Donald Maclaine, at the controls.
The aircraft completed a range of general handling checks during the flight and performed as expected. It will be joined by two further aircraft in 2010 to complete the flight testing of the AW159 and the wide range of role equipment the aircraft will carry.
Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland, said “The successful first flight of the AW159 is great company achievement. Designed and developed to meet the UK MoD’s demanding requirements for a multi-role military helicopter the AW159 will be the most cost effective, capable and advanced helicopter in its class. Our highly skilled engineers and technicians can be proud to have achieved this remarkable result on schedule and on budget, so confirming our commitment to maintaining critical design, engineering and technological know-how in the UK to go on effectively supporting the MoD.”
Nick Whitney, VP UK Government Business Unit, AgustaWestland, watching the historic event said “It gives me great pleasure to see the AW159 flying exactly on schedule as we promised in June 2006 when the contract was signed. The fact the AW159 programme has achieved every major milestone on time and on budget is great testament to the Strategic Partnering Arrangement and the commitment of our supply chain. The AW159 promises to continue the remarkable success the Lynx has achieved in service worldwide and we, along with our partners, are now focused on completing the development of the aircraft and delivering the first aircraft in 2011.”
The maiden flight of the AW159, which will be known as Lynx Wildcat in UK military service, marks a major milestone in the development of this new six-ton multi-role military helicopter, 62 of which have been ordered by the UK Ministry of Defence for the Army and Royal Navy, to perform both land and maritime missions.
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2011 with the aircraft becoming fully operational with the Army in 2014 and the Royal Navy in 2015.
The British Army’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat will perform a wide range of tasks on the battlefield including reconnaissance, command and control, transportation of troops and materiel, and the provision of force protection.
The Royal Navy variant will provide an agile maritime capability providing anti-surface warfare capability and force protection and will operate in support of amphibious operations and be an important element in defending ships against surface threats.
There will be a high degree of commonality between the Army and Royal Navy helicopters that will mean that an aircraft can switch roles easily, principally through the changing of role equipment.
The AW159 is powered by two new generation CTS800 engines, each capable of continuously producing 1281 shp giving the aircraft exceptional hot and high performance. The aircraft has an all up mass of 5790 kg with a built in capability to increase that to 6250 kg.
The cockpit includes a fully integrated display system utilising four 10×8 inch primary displays. Sensors include a nose mounted IR/TV imager with built in laser designator and for the maritime variant the Selex Galileo 7400E 360 degree active array radar.
The AW159 also has a comprehensive integrated defensive aids suite comprising a missile warning system, radar warning receivers and a countermeasures dispensing system. Additionally the AW159 will e capable of carrying a range of weapons including machine guns, torpedoes, depth charges and the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW).
The AW159 programme for the UK MoD continues to be on time and on budget and was the first major project to be awarded under the Strategic Partnering Arrangement signed by the UK Ministry of Defence and AgustaWestland in June 2006.
AgustaWestland has also signed partnering agreements with a number of key supplier on the AW159 programme including Selex Galileo, a Finmeccanica company; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC – a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation.