UK New Wildcat helicopter unveiled
11 Jul 2012
The Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom has today unveiled the first of a new fleet of Wildcat helicopters, and confirmed a £250m in-service support and training contract with AgustaWestland providing a specialist training centre at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, where the Wildcats will be based.
The first two of 62 Wildcat helicopters ordered by the UK MOD were handed over by manufacturer AgustaWestland at the Farnborough International Airshow. The 34 Army Wildcats and 28 Navy Wildcats will replace the Lynx fleet operated by the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm.
The first Wildcats to be handed over are Army helicopters, which will come into service in 2014. The first Royal Navy Wildcats are due to be delivered for training later this year before coming into service in 2015.
The Army Wildcat will primarily be used in a reconnaissance role, providing protection to soldiers on the ground. The Navy Wildcat is a maritime attack version for fleet protection and other maritime roles.
The AW159 Wildcat is a derivative of the Lynx helicopter with more robust redesigned fuselage and comes equipped with more powerful engines, modern sensors, updated avionics and glass cockpit. Both variants are armed with general purpose and heavy machine guns and the Navy's helicopters will also carry Sting Ray torpedoes.