The AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is a British military helicopter.
It is an improved version of the
Westland Super Lynx designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles.
In British service, common variants are being operated by both the Royal Navy and British Army, having replaced their Lynx Mk.7/8/9 predecessors.
The AW159 has also been offered to several export customers, and has been ordered by the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy.
The AW159 Wildcat is a further development of the Westland Lynx.
While the AW159 shares broad similarities in appearance to the Lynx, it has significant design differences and is heavily modernised and adapted to gain new attributes and functionality.
The AW159 comprises 95% new components; the remaining 5%, consisting of such items as the fuel system and main rotor gearbox, are interchangeable with the Lynx AH7 and HMA8 variants.
During development, the Army and Navy variants of the Wildcat reportedly maintained 98 per cent commonality with one another.
The AW159 is the first helicopter by AgustaWestland to be designed inside an entirely digital environment.
Among other changes, certain external elements of the Wildcat, such as the tail rotor, have been redesigned for greater durability and stealth qualities.
Both Army and Navy variants have a common airframe, which is manufactured by GKN Aerostructures; the airframe has been marinised for operations in the naval environment and provides for a greater airframe lifespan of 12,000 flight hours.
The wheeled undercarriage is also strengthened for naval landings on both variants.
The AW159 is powered by two 1,362 hp (1,016 kW) LHTEC CTS800 turboshaft engines which drives the rotorcraft’s BERP IV rotor blades via a new transmission, increasing the maximum take-off weight by more than 1 ton over the legacy Super Lynx.
It is equipped with a new composite tailboom, tailplane, tail rotor, nose structure and avionics suite.
The naval version is also equipped with a Selex Galileo Seaspray 7000E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and L-3 Wescam MX-15HDi electro-optical/infrared nose turret.
A glass cockpit comprises the primary human-machine interface, using four 255 x 200mm multifunction displays to provide information to the aircrew and interact with the avionics systems on board.
The Wildcat features an increased payload and range over the preceding Super Lynx; it is operationally required to carry up to 8 Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapons up to 185 kilometers from a host ship and remain on station for up to an hour.
The type can perform aerial reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), utility, fire control, command and control, and troop transport duties.
Many elements of the AW159’s avionics are provided by Thales Group.
The type is reported to possess significant ISTAR capabilities and improved situational awareness, achieved through its onboard integrated digital open systems architecture; it has been equipped with the Bowman communications system, allowing for data such as targeting and voice communications to be securely and seamlessly transmitted to friendly forces.
Some AW159 models have been fitted with various General Dynamics-built mission systems, these include secured data recorders and tactical processing systems which integrate sensor data and application information for displaying within the cockpit as well as for retention within encrypted data storage.
Other mission systems used on the Wildcat have been produced by BAE Systems.
All variants of the Wildcat share the same defensive aids arrangement, which shares some commonality with the AgustaWestland Apache; features include missile warning sensors, countermeasures dispensers, and infrared exhaust suppressors.
Initial battlefield reconnaissance model, total of 34 ordered for the Army Air Corps.
Initial maritime model, total of 28 ordered for the Royal Navy.
6 passengers, including door gunner
15.24 m (50 ft 0 in)
3.73 m (12 ft 3 in)
3,300 kg (7,275 lb)
Max take-off weight
6,000 kg (13,228 lb)
2 × LHTEC CTS800-4N turboshaft,
1,015 kW (1,361 hp) each
Main rotor diameter
12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)
Main rotor area
128.7 m2 (1,385 sq ft)
311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn)
777 km (483 mi, 420 nmi)
963 km (598 mi, 520 nmi)
2 hr 15 min (4 hr 30 min with auxiliary fuel tanks)
Pintle-mounted machine gun, e.g. FN MAG (Army) or Browning M3M (Navy).
Air-to-surface missile systems and ASW weapons (Naval HMA2 variant)
Up to 20 × Thales Martlet (Lightweight Multirole Missile), formerly Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Light).
Up to 4 × MBDA Sea Venom, formerly Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy), to disable or destroy vessels up to 1000 tonnes (projected for full operating capability in 2026).
Sting Ray torpedo and Mk.11 depth charges.
South Korean and Philippine naval loadout
K745 Blue Shark torpedoes
Spike NLOS ATGM-based antiship missiles
Thales Underwater Systems Compact FLASH dipping sonar array
Seaspray 7400E AESA X band air-to-surface multifunction radar