PICTURES: Lynx Wildcat completes at-sea trials for UK

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AgustaWestland's AW159 Lynx Wildcat has completed a programme of ship-helicopter operating limits trials from the UK Royal Navy's HMS Iron Duke, with a prototype aircraft having made 390 deck landings aboard the Type 23 frigate.

Conducted off the coasts of southern England and northern Scotland through two 10-day spells in mid-January and early February, the trials work included 148 night landings, with 76 of these performed using night-vision goggles, the Ministry of Defence said.

"Two Fleet Air Arm test pilots assessed and scored the difficulty and workload required for each landing in each different weather condition or sea state," the MoD said. Detailed analysis of the programme results will continue until late this year, it added.


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AgustaWestland is scheduled to deliver its first of 62 production aircraft for launch customer the UK to the British Army in the second quarter of this year, with the Army Air Corps to eventually field 34. The RN's 700W Naval Air Squadron trials unit is then due to receive the service's first of 28 examples during December. Aircraft for both operators will be based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.

According to the MoD, forthcoming trials work involving the Lynx Wildcat will focus on the type's search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor payload, in addition to missile firings.


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With development work on the AW159 nearing completion, the UK manufacturer is also looking to attract its first export customer for the new-generation Lynx. Denmark and South Korea are among early business opportunities for maritime use.