PICTURES: Second Lynx Wildcat makes flight debut

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AgustaWestland's second AW159 utility helicopter has made its flight debut in support of the British Army/UK Royal Navy Lynx Wildcat programme. The aircraft - dubbed TI2 - underwent general handling checks on its debut, and "performed as expected", the company says.

Achieved at its Yeovil site in Somerset on 14 October, the event should be followed by the end of the month with the addition of the last aircraft from a three-strong test fleet. These should log a combined 600 flight hours, AgustaWestland says, with aircraft TI2 to be dedicated to testing the AW159's avionics equipment.

 
© AgustaWestland

Meanwhile, work has started on the first of 62 production aircraft for the UK, with deliveries to run from late 2011.

GKN Aerospace handed over the first airframe in July and a pulse production line has been established at Yeovil. This will bring "significant efficiencies to the final assembly process" over previous Lynx models, AgustaWestland says.

The Lynx Wildcat should reach full operational readiness with the British Army in 2014 and the RN the following year, with their aircraft to be around 98% common in their airframe and systems.

 
© AgustaWestland

The currently 5.8t maximum take-off weight type is powered by two Rolls-Royce/Honeywell LHTEC CTS800 engines, already integrated with the British Army's upgraded Lynx AH9As for operational use in Afghanistan.