The world's foremost small ships helicopter - GKN Westland's Super Lynx - continues to do well, with several new orders, potential orders and major upgrade programmes announced at Le Bourget.

Having recently delivered the last of nine new Super Lynx aircraft to the Brazilian navy, GKN Westland Helicopters is now upgrading the remainder of the Brazilian fleet to Super Lynx standard.

Work on producing seven new Sea Lynx helicopters for the German navy will start later this year and discussions are continuing with Germany for the upgrade of its existing fleet of 17 Sea Lynx Mk88s.

Other orders are on the horizon both in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

Having recently lost out on contracts for the Australian and New Zealand navies to Kaman's Super SeaSprite, Westland is keen to get back on to a winning track.

Malaysia, which is looking for a new shipboard helicopter for its proposed large fleet of offshore patrol vessels, is a major object of Westland's attention at present. Many European Lynx operators are poised to embark on major upgrade programmes which will ensure their aircraft stay in service to 2015 and beyond.

To meet this need, the company is now offering a 're-airframing' option enabling Lynx operators to extend the life of their aircraft.

A company spokesman says: "Many of the airframes on Lynx helicopters are reaching the end of their original life. By rebuilding the airframe and updating the electrical systems, we can now offer significant life extension for Lynx fleets.

"This type of work can be carried out much more quickly than a conventional upgrade and means that the aircraft out-of-service time can be reduced dramatically - from around eight months for a conventional upgrade, to just three months for a re-airframing option."

The company claims that the operator then benefits from having a 'brand new' airframe, capable of being supported for another 20 years.

Source: Flight Daily News