Westland Lynx HAS.2, 702Sqn Fleet Air Arm,


Airfix, with modeldecal markings. Scratch built Sea Skuas on Airwaves pylons. Link to Build Page

Westland's Lynx was the main UK contribution to the 1960s UK-French agreement to build a common family of helicopters, resulting in the Puma, Gazelle and Lynx. Originally intended as a utility battlefield helicopter, its Naval variant has been hugely succcessful, serving with the Navies of the UK, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway (Coast Guard), Portugal, South Korea, Nigeria, Malaysia, Oman, Portugal, Quatar, South Africa, Thailand, Argentina, Pakistan, Algeria and Brazil.  As of 2020, the Lynx still holds the world speed record for a helicopter, set in 1986 at 249 mph (400.87 km/h).

This Lynx is XZ242. By the time of the Falklands War, she had become HMS COVENTRY Flight.  On 3 May 1982 she fired 2 Sea Skua missiles at the ARA Alferez Sobral, one striking the patrol ship aft.  This was the first use of a Sea Skua in action.   On 25th May 1982, ZX242 was lost when the COVENTRY was bombed and sank off Pebble Island, with 19 crewmen killed and 30 injured.  

Did you know?

1. The original Lynx tail rotor was optimised for speed, with its top blade rotating against the direction of advance. This gave an approaching Lynx a distinctively loud banging sound as the tail rotor tips approached the speed of sound! More recent Lynx models have the direction of rotation reversed to give greater control whilst in the hover (the blade now rotates against the main rotor downwash), which is better suited for ship-borne operations.

2. The Lynx still holds the world speed record for a helicopter. It was also one of the first helicopters able to loop the loop, thanks to its rigid rotor system.

3. Parts of the Lynx tail assembly were apparently produced by convicts serving "hard labour" within the French penal system.

Westland Lynx HAS.3, 815 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,


Airfix, out the box. Torpedoes converted to Sting Rays.

The Lynx HAS Mk.3 entered service in the early 1980s, with an uprated Gem engine, strengthened gearbox and a range of sensor/avionics improvements.  Most noticeable of these was the Orange Crop ESM system, with antennae on the nose and each rear quarter. A number of specialist variants were produced, including the HAS.3 GM (Gulf Modifications) with active RF jammer (Yellow Veil) IR Jammers (Disco Lights) and additional engine cooling. Secure radios and additional IFF modes were added to allow interoperability with key coalition forces.

This is Lynx XZ733.  One of the few Lynx HAS.3s not to be converted to a HMA.8,  after a period with HMS BRAVE from 1990, when she received the Gulf Modifications (GM) package , she finished her days as a dual control trainer until she was sold for scrappage/spares in 2011.

Westland Lynx HAS.3 ICE, 815 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,


Airfix, with scratch Orange Crop antennae, scratch BERP Blades and scratch blade fold/handling frames Link to Build Page

The HAS.3 ICE aircraft were modified to serve onboard the UK’s Antarctic Patrol Ship, HMS ENDURANCE and featured many of the improvements of the Mk.7 and Mk.8.  Two aircraft were normally carried, stripped of some military equipment to make them lighter, provide more internal space and to comply with Antarctic treaty obligations.   

This aircraft is  XZ238 / 434.   Sadly her twin, XZ241 / 435, crashed on 8 Feb 2004 whilst transferring stores from ENDURANCE to shore caches.  It is believed that the pilot became disorientated in the snow and hit a ridge.   All 5 crew members were injured, 3 of them seriously.

Westland Lynx HMA.8, 815 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,


Airfix Mk3 with Airwaves conversion (resin nose,tail, weapons pylons & BERP blades) and Italeri Sea Skua missiles

The Lynx Mk.8 added advanced composite BERP rotor blades with their distinctive “paddle” ends, a reversed direction tail rotor, Cockpit Tactical Display for the Observer,  a 360 degree radar under the nose and an IR camera turret on the nose.   This model represents Lynx HMA.8 ZD257 / 474, which served with HMS RICHMOND until October 2001, when it was replaced by Lynx XZ256 /474.  

Sadly, on 12 June 2002,  XZ256 suffered a double engine failure and crashed into the sea 190 miles off Norfolk, Virginia.  The pilot, Lt Rod Skidmore RN and Observer, Lt Jenny Lewis RN were both killed. A 3rd crew member was able to exit the sinking aircraft and survived.   Lt Lewis was a true Fleet Air Arm pioneer, as the first ever female RN Lynx helicopter aircrew.

Westland Lynx AH.7, 847 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,

HMS OCEAN (Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade) 2003

Airfix AH.1/HMA.8 hybrid, with scratch countermeasures fit, sights, TOW missiles and decals

The AH.7 Lynx added the HMA.8 modifications (Blades, engines, tail rotor) to the land based variant.  Armed with TOW missiles, Lynx of the RM Commando Helicopter Force played a key role in the 2003 assault on the Al Faw  peninsula.

In 2006, an aircraft of 847 Sqn was downed by an MANPADs missile, killing the 5 occupants of the aircraft. Service in the Gulf and later in Afghanistan highlighted the poor power reserve of the Lynx , which could only operate effectively in winter months and they were retired from Royal Navy service in 2017.

Agusta Westland Lynx HMA.8, 702 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,

Black Cats Display Team, Yeovilton 2009.

HobbyBoss with Model Alliance decals

The Black Cats are the Royal navy’s helicopter display team.  From 2001 until 2014, they displayed with Lynx HAS.3 and Lynx HMA.8 aircraft in a distinctive colour scheme .  This is Lynx XZ722, which had previously served in HM Ships ANDROMEDA (Falklands & Gulf), GLOUCESTER (Gulf), BROADSWORD (Gulf), ARGYLL and RICHMOND as well as ashore with 702 Sqn.

Agusta Westland (Leonardo) Lynx HMA.8 (CMP), 815 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,

HMS Somerset 2010.

Hobbyboss with scratch additions, Airfix doors and Xtradecal markings

XZ731 was one of the final Lynx to remain in service and carries a full outfit of IR and Laser jammers/decoys etc.  

The final deployment of the Lynx in Fleet Air Arm service ended in March 2017 when HMS PORTLAND’s Lynx HMA.8 returned to 815 Sqn’s base at RNAS Yeovilton for the last time.

Agusta Westland Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A,

MFG-3 Deutsch Navy MarineFlieger, Flugplatz Nordholz, 2006.

Airfix with HobbyBoss door and decals

The German Navy was an enthusiastic user of the Lynx. This is the upgraded Mk.88A variant, roughly equivalent to the RN’s later HMA.8, but with some German specific equipment fits, including a Thales FLASH lightweight dipping sonar.  A Thermal imager turret could be fitted, but was role-specific and not universally fitted. This  aircraft was used for displays with a european Lynx motif  similar to the Black Cats.   

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