Military Factory logo

Leonardo (AgustaWestland) AW159 Wildcat

Italy (2014)
Picture of Leonardo (AgustaWestland) AW159 Wildcat Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / Search and Rescue (SAR) / Utility Helicopter

The AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat is designed as a direct replacement of existing Lynx helicopter systems for the British Army and Royal Navy.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) AW159 Wildcat Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / Search and Rescue (SAR) / Utility Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 11/18/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The AgustaWestland AW159 "Lynx Wildcat" is an relatively new, thoroughly improved and modernized form of the successful "Lynx" series multi-role helicopter expected to enter service with the British military in a few years. The Wildcat itself is based on the "Super Lynx 300" and sports a new tailboom, cockpit, avionics and sensor suites and undercarriage. The Wildcat was initially known under the designation of "Future Lynx" before being renamed as Lynx Wildcat by AgustaWestland on April 24th, 2009. The British military will accept the Lynx Wildcat under the formal designation of AW159. First flight of the initial Wildcat was recorded on November 12th, 2009 out of Yeovil with a second prototype going airborne on October 14th, 2010. Deliveries of Wildcat systems to the British military are expected to begin sometime in 2011.

The initial Lynx helicopter first flew on March 21st, 1971 and was introduced some time later in 1978 and, even today, remains an active component of British Army and Navy operations. The Lynx was also purchased by the French and German navies. Since its inception, the Lynx has maintained a capable and prominent role on the battlefield, being utilized for its multi-role nature and effective service under a variety of conditions including operations over water. She proved versatile enough to be outfitted with an array of munitions options to tackle a variety of sortie needs.

Lynx Wildcat origins date back to 2002 which saw evaluation of a version of the Super Lynx 300 development. The Super Lynx sported BERP rotor blades, a tail rotor taken from the Westland 30 series, new engines and several nose-mounted radar and optical installation options. Royal Navy Lynx HAS.3 models were upgraded to the Super Lynx standard under Lynx HMA.8 while a Super Lynx 200 (LHTEC CTS800 engines) and a Super Lynx 300 (EH101 cockpit and avionics) were offered for export.

The new Lynx initiative was christened with the developmental name of "Future Lynx" and intended as a replacement for the aging fleet of base Lynx helicopters in British Army and Navy service. The requirements were specified under the Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft (SCMR) and the Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH) programs. The programs eventually evolved under a single acronym known as "BRH" for a "Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter". On June 22nd, 2006, the MoD gave AgustaWestland the green light with a 1 billion pound agreement and committed to procuring some 70 Future Lynxes for both service branches. However, in December of 2008, the MoD reduced their requirement to 62 examples.
Beginning in 2014, the British Army is set to receive delivery of 34 Wildcats while the Royal Navy will accept 28 examples the year following. The initial Wildcat squadron for the Royal Navy has already been established as 700W NAS (Naval Air Squadron) in May of 2009, a group with history dating as far back as 1940. Its first helicopters are expected to arrive in January of 2013 to begin evaluations and conversion training for pilots and crew.

Avionics are set to include Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), HUMS, electronic support measures, 360-degree AESA surveillance radar, data linking, a full color digital map, electronic countermeasures for self-defense, infrared suppression, an integrated surface automatic identification system (AIS), and anti-submarine warfare dipping sonar (naval variant only) and a weapons management system complete with a heads-up display (HUD) relaying pertinent mission and performance figures directly to the pilots.

Power to the AW159 will be supplied by a pair of LHTEC CTS800-4N series turboshaft engines, each rated at 1,362 shaft horsepower apiece and powering a four-bladed main rotor with a portside-mounted tail rotor system. Maximum speed is listed at 184 miles per hour with an operational range equal to 598 miles, up to 4.5 hours of flight time with optional fuel stores. Wildcat measures in at 50 feet in length with a rotor diameter of 42 feet and a height of 12.2 feet. Maximum take-off weight is 13,200lbs. The airframe for both the Army and Navy models will be based on the navalized Royal Navy Lynx. Externally, she will appear quite similar to her original Lynx sisters, sporting a wheeled undercarriage, large front windscreens and side sliding doors.

Armament for the Wildcat will be expectedly varied based on need. General armament will consist of self-defensive machine guns mounted on pintles at the doors (0.30 or 0.50 caliber in origin). Machine gun pods and rocket pods also figure into the ordnance load as do air-to-surface guided missile systems such as the "Hellfire" anti-tank. For anti-ship duty, the Wildcat is expected to field depth charges, anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. Armament will be carried across a pair of wing stubs fitted to the sides of the Wildcat fuselage. The integrated armament suite is developed to autonomously detect and engage land- or -sea-based targets including those underwater.

The Wildcat will allow for the use of modular armor fittings to further enhance survivability as well as offer "crash-resistant" seating for the crew. For search and rescue sorties, the Wildcat will be fitted with a rescue hoist and be designed to accept wounded on MEDEVAC litters in the cabin. Additionally, as a troop transport, the Wildcat will supply multiple seat in the cabin for combat-ready troops. For urban and forested deployments, the cabin can be fixed with a rappeling kit for quick insertion.

March 2014 - The British Army has plans to field some 34 Lynx Wildcats with an additional 28 being delivered to the British Royal Navy. South Korea has ordered eight Lynx Wildcat helicopters with deliveries expected in 2015.

February 2017 - The South Korean Navy has elected to purchase the AW159 to fulfill the first half of its standing maritime service requirement.

October 2017 - The AW159 is a contender for the new Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) requirement of South Korea. Other contenders are the Airbus Helicopters NH90 and Sikorsky MH-60R series.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (184mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
70
70


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Italy
Year: 2014
Type: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / Search and Rescue (SAR) / Utility Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Leonardo-Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland) - Italy
Production: 70
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
South Korea; United Kingdom
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
50.00 ft


Meters
15.24 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
41.99 ft


Meters
12.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.24 ft


Meters
3.73 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
7,275 lb


Kilograms
3,300 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
13,228 lb


Kilograms
6,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Rolls-Royce CTS800-4N turboshaft engines developing 1,362 horsepower each while driving a four-blade main rotor and four blade tail rotor.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
184 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
296 kph


Knots
160 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
483 mi


Kilometers
777 km


Nautical Miles
420 nm

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

OPTIONAL:
2 x 7.62mm OR 12.7mm machine guns on pintle mounts at cabin doors.

OPTIONAL (mission-specific with wingstub attachments): Rocket Pods, Machine Gun Pods, Anti-Ship Missiles, Hellfire Anti-Tank Missiles, Depth Charges and Torpedoes
Variants: Series Model Variants
• AW159 Wildcat - For British Army and Royal Navy service (Fleet Air Arm).
• AW159 "Lynx Wildcat" - Original Designation
• AW159 "Future Lynx" - Alternative Designation