At a ceremony at AgustaWestland in Yeovil, it was today announced that the Future Lynx aircraft is now to be known formally as the AW159 Lynx Wildcat.
The Lynx Wildcat programme will deliver a fleet of 62 new light helicopters for the Army and Royal Navy from 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The Army variant of Lynx Wildcat will perform a 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. They will be an important element of ship defence against surface threats and can carry out an anti-submarine role, as well as acting as a light utility helicopter.
The aircraft will have a high degree of commonality and will be able to switch between Army and Royal Navy roles, principally through the changing of role equipment. Their capability will be a significant advance on that provided in both Iraq and Afghanistan by the current Lynx fleet.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“I am pleased to be here today in Yeovil to mark the renaming of the Future Lynx as Lynx Wildcat.
“This is a good moment to pay tribute to the progress that has been made on this very important programme and to signify the importance which the Government attaches to it.
“The name Wildcat evokes memories of past successes in previous campaigns, and I am confident that this aircraft will also prove its worth on operations.”
The name ‘Wildcat’ recalls the name given to the Grumman F4F which was widely used during the Second World War. The aircraft ceased operational service in 1945 but some flying aircraft remain, including one in the collection of the Imperial War Museum Duxford.