Westland Lynx HAS.2: Westland's cat goes to Sea (i)

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Introduction: The Lynx is a highly versatile, rugged and beautiful machine, that is both an icon of British helicopter development and a workhorse in multiple conflicts, well-loved by many. The Lynx performed well in all jobs it was pressed into doing, at land and at sea, the latter of which, is the topic of today’s post.

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Background: The Lynx can trace its origins to the Anglo-French Helicopter Agreement. Under this agreement, technical knowledge would be transferred between France and the United Kingdom, allowing the two to co-produce helicopters together, thus creating interoperability and reducing costs. The W.G.13 study was an umbrella designation for multiple different types of rotorcraft. However, of these, only the Lynx in the form as we know it entered production. This agreement bore great fruit in general, in the forms of the Puma, Gazelle and Lynx.

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Description: The seaborne Lynx emerged from a requirement from the Royal Navy which necessitated the replacement of the Westland Wasp with a helicopter that combined the ease of storage and ruggedness of the Wasp, with the latest technology and weaponry of the day. With new threats emerging in the form of missile-armed fast-attack craft, the need for a modern counter to this threat was of utmost importance, if Royal Navy frigates and destroyers were to operate safely. The French Navy, also adopted the Lynx (though with some differences). Progress was quick, and a first flight occurred on the 10th February, 1976, with production commencing shortly after. Entry into service occurred in 1981. The Lynx HAS.2, as it had been named, shared the same engines as its land-based cousin, the AH.1, however also shared many differences, which were: a wheeled tricycle landing-gear, a shorter more bulbous nose (housing Searchwater radar), a harpoon deck capture and restraint system, a folding main rotor and tailboom and emergency floatation equipment. The main weapon of the HAS.2 was the Sea Skua, a semi-active radar-homing anti-ship missile, designed to destroy missile boats, which were judged to pose a significant threat to surface assets. The Lynx/Sea Skua combination would ultimately replace the Wasp/AS.12 combination in Royal Navy service, giving better performance and effectiveness than the latter. Despite this, a Lynx HAS.2 was tested with four AS.12s, likely to validate its use for the French Navy, who used it on their Lynxes, as well as for export customers.

Service: The HAS.2 soon received its baptism of fire, in the harsh South Atlantic conditions of the Falklands. There, the type gained numerous success against Argentine surface threats, alongside its older stablemate the Wasp. One notable engagement was against the ARA Alfere ́rez Sobral, which was significantly damaged by a hit from a Sea Skua. Another was against the action against the ARA Santa Fe, where a Lynx was launched from HMS Brilliant to destroy the submarine alongside a Wasp. The Lynx dropped a Mk.46 torpedo, which failed to his the submarine, but fired its machine gun at the surfaced submarine.

Performance:

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WESTLAND LYNX HAS.2:


spec metric English


main rotor diameter 12.8 meters 42 feet
tail rotor diameter 2.21 meters 7 feet 3 inches
fuselage length 11.92 meters 39 feet 1 inch
footprint length 15.16 meters 49 feet 9 inches
height (tail rotor) 3.60 meters 11 feet 10 inches
height (rotor head) 2.96 meters 9 feet 9 inches

empty weight 3,345 kilograms 7,370 pounds
max loaded weight 4,765 kilograms 10,500 pounds

maximum speed 230 KPH 145 MPH / 125 KT
hover ceiling 2,575 meters 8,450 feet
combat radius 95 kilometers 60 MI / 50 NMI

Weapons: 4x Sea Skua, 4x AS.12, 2x Mk.44/46 torpedoes, 2x Mk.11 depth charges

Conclusion: The Lynx quickly proved its ruggedness, ease of maintenance, utility and lethality in the conflict, and the type soon gained a fearsome reputation, as well as entering the public spotlight for its sterling service. Special thanks to @lxtav and @da12thmonkey for finding photos of the HAS.2 with AS.12s.

Sources:

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File:Westland WG-13 Lynx HAS2, UK - Navy AN1343975.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File:Westland WG-13 Lynx HAS2, UK - Navy AN2111929.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Lynx HAS.2 HMA.8 Helicopter Royal Navy Agusta Westland
British Helicopter Tech Tree - Discussion Topic - #163 by da12thmonkey
Westland Lynx WG-13 Lynx HAS 2
[2.0] Naval Lynxes / Next-Generation Lynxes & Derivatives
Firepower Magazine Volume 20

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