AgustaWestland's next-generation Future Lynx helicopter has been renamed as the AW159 to bring it into line with other products in the company's line of commercial and military rotorcraft.
Developed to meet the needs of the UK's respective Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter (BRH) and Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft (SCMR) programmes, the AW159 is now being groomed as the natural successor to the Lynx and Super Lynx 300 in the export market.
Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed on 24 April that its variant of the AW159 will be known as Wildcat in UK military service. Sixty-two aircraft have been ordered by the MoD: 34 for the British Army and 28 for the Royal Navy (RN).
The AW159 air vehicle builds on the dynamic and vehicle systems of the existing Lynx design, while capitalising on AgustaWestland's own investment in the uprated engines and integrated avionics of the Super Lynx 300 export variant. These improvements, allied to a new airframe structure, greater load-carrying capability and further avionics enhancements, have collectively borne a new multirole helicopter with a 12,000-hour airframe and a minimum 25 years' service life.
AW159 design activities have seen AgustaWestland using the CATIA computer-aided design tool to create a high-fidelity three-dimensional digital product model. While digital product design has previously been used by the company for selective re-engineering in the Super Lynx 300 programme, this marks a first from a 'whole aircraft' perspective.