The MOD has just commissioned the Future Rotorcraft (FRC) study which will almost certainly recommend the purchase of additional heavy and medium lift (to replace Puma & Sea King) aircraft supplemented by a find capability. Whilst there remains some argument about whether the medium lift aircraft could also provide the find function the reality is that inter service rivalries and the need to keep Westlands afloat means that a dedicated find (BRH) aircraft will be bought.
Same size, same gearbox and running gear, same main fuselage, different engines (thirstier, same sized fuel tank so less endurance), different tail boom, Glass cockpit, wheels, nice shiny optics on the nose (approx 6' below where the old TOW sight was situated). Which is great if you are a Naval type chap and have nothing more than 600 NM of sea to look at but a bit of a limitation if you need to peek over a tree line or other such cover. As with the previous version of Lynx, the main customers for FLYNX will be foreign Navies. Space for four blokes in the back (old version could, at a pinch carry nine). Due to health and safety, a crash worthy seat is required in the rear for each passenger thus cutting the useable volume.
A nice looking aircraft and no doubt will have terrific handling properties but as a useful cohort to the Apache, pretty pointless.
It is fairly say that if the Army Future Lynx was an animal then there would be a massive international breeding programme to bring it back from extinction. The Royal Navy on the other hand will have hundreds operating in the vital and ever expanding Anti-Submarine Warfare(ASuW) role.
Justifications for purchase
No money left after buying 67 Apache. Not actually true as this money is long gone, the reason is more to do with the fact that TCH appears to have had the budgetary skills of a 17 old girl with a gold AMEX card in Oxford Street.
Proping up Agusta Westlands - as usual......
We will be told to.
Latest MOD press release confirming that Westlands Future Lynx is preferred option for FRC find and Maritime (Surface) Attack.
Super Lynx from Augusta Westlands site.