The UK Ministry of Defence is considering re-engining British Army GKN Westland Lynxs with the Honeywell T800 engine as part of a wider programme to update the battlefield helicopter.

Army Air Corps Lynx AH7/9s are to remain in service to support the GKN Westland WAH-64 Apache when it supplants the Lynx in the anti-armour and attack roles around 2002.

Initially, the Lynx Light Utility Helicopter (LLUH) programme included improvements to the navigation and communications suites, a new defensive aids suite, and an improved observation aid with range finder and laser target designator.

LLUH was merged earlier this year with the Future Light Battlefield Helicopter into the more comprehensive Future Light Utility Helicopter (FLUH) programme, says the MoD.

FLUH is scheduled to enter service in 2004, says the MoD, adding that Westland has a study contract to review replacement of the Rolls-Royce Gem turboshaft and re-airframing the machine. Westland proposed re-airframing the Lynx as a cheaper alternative to rebuilding existing airframes last year (Flight International, 6-12 October 1999).

Industry sources say the T800 - built by Honeywell/Rolls-Royce joint venture LHTEC-is a key part of the FLUH work, which has also been referred to as the Lynx AH10. The T800 is already offered to Lynx export customers.

The sources say other changes would include the introduction of a databus, easing the task of future sensor and weapon integration, and a glass cockpit, which is also offered to export customers. An ongoing operational analysis is examining the sensor required to support the Apache and whether it should be chin, roof or mast mounted. The analysis is also likely to recommend the FLUH's weapons fit.

Source: Flight International