Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks
Aviation / Aerospace

Leonardo AW159 Wildcat

Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / Search and Rescue (SAR) / Utility Helicopter [ 2014 ]

The Leonardo AW159 platform was designed as a direct replacement of existing, aging Lynx helicopter systems for the British Army and Royal Navy services - it has since been adopted by others.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/27/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) 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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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 rappelling kit for quick insertion.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

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.

October 2018 - The Philippine Navy announced plans to equip its AW159 fleet with a South Korean lightweight torpedo weapon.

March 2020 - British Royal Navy Wildcats are being outfitted with special weapons wings to extensively broaden their ordnance-carrying capabilities. This will allow the anti-surface ship platform to carry no fewer than four "Sea Venom" anti-ship missiles.

October 2020 - Leonardo has successfully tested its "Manned-UnManned - Teaming" (MUM-T) system aboard a specially-modified AW159 Wildcat helicopter. Development is being conducted ahead of trials for the British Army's "Warfighting Experiment".



Service Year

Italy national flag graphic

In Active Service.


Leonardo-Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland) - Italy
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Bangladesh National flag of the Philippines National flag of South Korea National flag of the United Kingdom Bangladesh; Philippines; South Korea; United Kingdom
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Special-Mission: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy underwater elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and weapons.
Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Special Forces
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.

50.0 ft
(15.24 m)
42.0 ft
(12.80 m)
12.2 ft
(3.73 m)
Empty Wgt
7,275 lb
(3,300 kg)
13,228 lb
(6,000 kg)
Wgt Diff
+5,952 lb
(+2,700 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Leonardo AW159 Wildcat production variant)
Installed: 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.
Max Speed
184 mph
(296 kph | 160 kts)
483 mi
(777 km | 1,439 nm)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Leonardo AW159 Wildcat production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x 7.62mm General Purpose / Medium Machine Guns (GPMGs/MMGs) OR 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) 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

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of a naval depth charge

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4

AW159 "Wildcat" - For British Army and Royal Navy service (Fleet Air Arm).
Wildcat AH.1 - British Army Air Corps variant equipped for over-battlefield reconnaissance sorties; 34 examples.
Wildcat HMA.2 - British Royal Navy variant equipped for maritime patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sorties; 28 examples.
AW159 "Lynx Wildcat" - Original Designation
AW159 "Future Lynx" - Alternative Designation

General Assessment
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (184mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Leonardo AW159 Wildcat operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (100)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).

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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 Ukranian-Russian War
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 2
Image of the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat
Image from Leonardo press release.
2 / 2
Image of the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat
An artist depiction of a British Royal Navy Lynx Wildcat helicopter as showcased on the AgustaWestland.com.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)