Future Lynx Is Now The AW159!
During a ceremony at AgustaWestland's Yeovil facility today it was announced that the Future Lynx has been renamed the AW159, bringing it in line with the other products in the growing AgustaWestland range of commercial and military rotorcraft. The design of the AW159 builds on the heritage of the Lynx family of helicopters, but delivers a much greater mission capability due to its high performance, new fully integrated advanced avionics system and mission equipment packages. The new multi-role military helicopter will now be marketed worldwide as the AW159.
At the ceremony Graham Cole, AgustaWestland's Managing Director, said "The AW159 is now reality with production well underway and the first aircraft on target to fly in November this year. Rebranding the aircraft the AW159 confirms that the aircraft is now fully a part of AgustaWestland's unrivalled range of military helicopters. Following in the success of the Lynx and Super Lynx, we see the AW159 becoming a highly successful product in the export market due to its exceptional performance and multi-role capabilities." At the same ceremony Lieutenant General Andrew Figgures, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability) also announced that the aircraft would be called the Lynx Wildcat in UK military service, following a long running tradition for the UK services to name its aircraft.
It was confirmed by the Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton MP, in December 2008 that the Future Lynx contract signed in June 2006 by the UK Ministry of Defence with AgustaWestland, would proceed to full scale production. 62 AW159s will be initially procured by the UK MoD, 34 for the British Army and 28 for the Royal Navy. With a common design, sensor and weapon capability, the multi-role AW159 is optimised for both maritime and battlefield environments, with the versatility and flexibility for it to be rapidly switched from one role to another. The aircraft will be able to perform a wide range of tasks including battlefield reconnaissance, maritime surface attack and utility lift. 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 Future Lynx programme including Selex Galileo, a Finmeccanica company; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC â€“ a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation. The first flight of the aircraft is on schedule to take place in November 2009 with the first airframe having entered final assembly in November 2008, ahead of schedule. AW159 deliveries will commence in 2011 and it will enter operational service with the British Army in 2014 and the Royal Navy in 2015.