A new £42m contract for AgustaWestland will upgrade ten Lynx helicopters to improve the air support available to forces in Afghanistan, the MoD has announced.
The Lynx upgrade to Mk9A standard will deliver more powerful engines, strengthened airframes, increased firepower using the heavier calibre 0.5’’ gun and more advanced instruments and electronics — improving the helicopters’ performance in the extreme conditions of Afghanistan. This £41.8m contact with AgustaWestland of Yeovil follows a £50m contract to upgrade 12 Lynx helicopters, and brings the total number of Lynx upgraded to Mk9A standard to 22.
Welcoming the Lynx Mk9As, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said: “This improved version of the very successful Lynx helicopter will greatly benefit our troops in Afghanistan when it deploys there for the first time next month. The enhancements will allow it to perform in the extremes of climate and geography that characterise that theatre of operations.”
The more powerful engine fitted as part of the upgrade is the same as that being used in the new Wildcat helicopter which AugustaWestland are also working on. The engine will enable the Lynx to operate more effectively in the challenging conditions of the Afghan summer months.
Deliveries of the Mk9A to the Army Air Corps began at the end of last year, and Mr Davies accepted the seventh airframe from AgustaWestland’s CEO, Giuseppe Orsi, and handed it over to the Commanding Officer of 9 Regt AAC Lieutenant Colonel Mike McGinty in a ceremony at the company’s Yeovil plant.
Guiseppe Orsi said: “The company is delighted to be delivering these aircraft to the Army against a tight timeframe so the benefits can be appreciated on the front line as soon as possible. This contract extension will allow us to complete the task.”