Primarily the Royal Navy Westland Lynx is an anti-surface and anti-submarine helicopter with a side by side cockpit for pilot and observer designed to operate from frigates and destroyers of the British Royal Navy Fleet. The Westland Lynx was a replacement for the Westland Scout and Wasp. The Westland Lynx helicopter is being fitted with a very advanced Central Tactical System and Passive Identification Device in addition to the equipment currently fitted. Its twin Rolls Royce Gem turboshaft engines power a four-blade semi-rigid main rotor system. The Lynx is fast compared with other helicopters. It's maximum sped is 201mph (324 km/h) and the aircraft has a range of 328 miles (528 km). The Lynx cabin can accommodate up to nine combat equipped marines.
They embark in their ship whenever it sails. Able to fire the Sea Skua anti-surface missile, which proved highly effective during the Gulf war, the Lynx forms an integral part of the ships detection and weapon system and can project the influence of a ship over great distances with the key element of surprise.
In addition to the Sea Skua the Lynx has the Sting Ray torpedo and the older technology, but nevertheless most effective depth charge for anti-submarine warfare. The aircraft may also be fitted with a 7.62mm machine gun pod, Browning AN/M3M .50 calibre heavy machine gun (HAS.3 and HMA.8). The home base for all seaborne Lynx is the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset. The British Army attack helicopter variant carries x 20mm cannons, 2 x 70mm rocket pods CRV7, 8 x TOW ATGM
A second variant of the Lynx is in service with the Royal Navy. The attack/utility version is operated in support of the Royal Marines in conjunction with the Commando Sea King. It fires the TOW anti-armour missile and gives an autonomous and flexible response against tanks and armoured personnel carriers to the Land Force Commander during Amphibious Operations.
The HAS.2 naval ASW variant had already taken part in combat operations in British service during the Falklands War in 1982. The Argentine Navy did not have a large number of useable submarines. Three were serviceable but the Sante Fe was lost at South Georgia and the other two were equally as old as the Sante Fe and all but remained in harbour for the duration of the war. However, their simple existence made the Task Force commanders understandably wary and it was the task of the Lynx's in the Task Force to ensure that they could be detected and destroyed.
On 25th April 1982 during the Falklands war after leaving Grytviken, in South George the Argentinean submarine Santa Fe was detected on radar by Lieutenant Chris Parry, the Observer of the Westland Wessex Royal Navy HAS.Mk.3 anti-submarine helicopter from HMS Antrim, and attacked with depth charges. This attack caused extensive internal damage, including the splitting of a ballast tank, the dismounting of electrical components and shocks to the machinery. As the submarine struggled to return to Grytviken on the surface, HMS Plymouth launched a Westland Wasp HAS.Mk.1 helicopter, and HMS Brilliant launched a Westland Lynx HAS.Mk.2. The Lynx dropped a Mk 46 torpedo, which failed to strike home, but strafed the submarine with its pintle-mounted 7.62 mm L7 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG). The Wessex also fired on the Santa Fe with its GPMG. The submarine was damaged badly enough to prevent her from submerging or even from sailing away. The crew abandoned the listing submarine at the jetty at King Edward Point on South Georgia and surrendered, along with the Argentine garrison, to the British forces.
The Lynx's more recent combat role was operating the Sea Skua to devastating effect against the Iraqi Navy during the 1991 Gulf War, rescuing soldiers during Operation Barras in Sierra Leone in Sept 2000 and missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The British Army Air Corps has 120 Westland Lynx AH.1/5/7/9 and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm has 80 Westland Lynx HAS.2/3/HMA8. The Lynx has been an export success. They have been sold to Thailand, South Korea, Portugal, Pakistan, Oman, Norway, Nigeria, Holland, Qatar, Malaysia, Germany, France, Denmark, Brazil and Algeria.