Introduction: The Lynx HAS.3 was an improvement of the HAS.2, continuing the Lynx’s lineage and improving its reputation of reliability and ruggedness. This was proven once again during its service in the Gulf.
Description: The HAS.3 is basically an improved HAS.2 fitted with more powerful engines in the form of Gem 42-1s, an upgraded gearbox, a new floatation system, improved ECM and Orange Crop ESM, a system which allowed the Lynx to engage targets without turning on its radar. Thirty aircraft were new-builds and 52 were converted from HAS.2 standard. The HAS.3s were modified for their service in the Gulf, being fitted with improved electronic warfare equipment, IFF systems and provision for a Sandpiper FLIR system, mounted on the port weapons pylon, giving improved combat capability at night and in bad weather. M130 flare/chaff dispensers were also added, in addition to ALQ 157 IR countermeasures systems. The type would remain in service until being converted to HMA.8 standard. Weapons were similar to the HAS.2, with Sea Skua being the primary weapon, though the type could be fitted with Penguins. The type also carried out troop insertions along the coast and on oil platforms, as well as maritime reconnaissance.
Service: The HAS.3 made up part of the Fleet Air Arm’s effort in Operation Granby, in the 1991 Gulf War, where the type scored numerous confirmed hits and kills against Iraqi surface targets, especially during the heated hours of the Battle of Bubiyan; the conflict’s largest naval battle. On the 24th of January 1991, a single Lynx sank two Iraqi minesweepers, with a third later being scuttled. On the 29th of January, a force of seventeen ships were detected south of Failaka Island, consisting of landing vessels, with escorting minesweepers and fast-attack craft. Two vessels were destroyed by Sea Skua missiles, with the rest being scattered and picked off by US Navy carrier-based aviation and Royal Navy Sea Kings. The next day, another three landing ships were detected, escorted by TNC-45 FACs (captured from Kuwait), and a T43 minesweeper. Four Lynxes fired Sea Skuas, destroying the three FACs and damaging landing ship and minesweeper were damaged, the former being finished off by an RAF Jaguar. Engagements with the Iraqi Navy continued into February, with Lynxes tallying up kills, including a patrol boat, another landing ship and a salvage vessel.
Powerplant: 2x Rolls-Royce Gem 42-1 turboshafts, each 1,120 shp
Dimensions: rotor diameter: 42ft 0in, fuselage length: 45ft 3in, height: 11ft 5in
Weight: empty: 7,370lb, gross: 10,500lb
Accommodation: pilot and copilot, 10 passengers
Armament: 2x Mk.44/Mk.46/Stingray torpedoes, 2x Mk.11 depth charges, 4x Sea Skuas, 2x Penguins
Conclusion: I think that this variant of the Lynx would bring some interesting capabilities to the game, with its FLIR pod which can be used for both target acquisition and scouting, as well as both the Sea Skua and Penguin, which are both formidable weapons.