DSEi: Royal Navy orders Q-Sight display for Lynx helicopters

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The UK Royal Navy has become the first customer to select BAE Systems' Q-Sight helmet-mounted display technology, with the equipment to be used with some of its AgustaWestland Lynx HMA8 helicopters.

Twelve Q-Sight systems will be fielded by mid-2010 under the deal, with the equipment to be used in conjunction with the Lynx gunner's remote sighting system. The clip-on display will show the image from the thermal sight on the aircraft's M3M gun, which can also be relayed to the platform's cockpit displays.

 
© Royal Navy/Crown Copyright

The combination is intended for use during tasks such as maritime force protection, and counter-drugs and counter-piracy operations, says Lt Cdr Al Laycock, Lynx capability manager at Naval Command Headquarters. "The system gives greater capability by day and night," he adds.

A prototype installation was shown on a Lynx on board the frigate HMS Somerset, which was moored alongside the 8-11 September DSEi exhibition in London's Docklands. Production deliveries will start before year-end and conclude by May 2010, says BAE.

 
© BAE Systems
Q-Sight will boost door gunner performance on the Lynx

"We're in low-rate initial production, and have spent a lot of time over the last year with customers to mature the design," says Chris Colston, BAE's director international business development for defence avionics. The company declines to reveal the value of its launch order, but says interest has also been shown from "the pilot community".

Q-Sight is being marketed primarily as a low-cost helmet-mounted display for use by military helicopter pilots.

The RN expects to operate its Lynx HMA8s until around 2016, with the type to be replaced by AgustaWestland's new-generation Lynx Wildcat. With the replacement model to also use the M3M gun, Laycock says the new Q-Sight equipment could be transitioned to the type. And he adds: "We foresee a lot of other applications."