Farnborough 2012: AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat delivered to the UK Ministry of Defence

On Day 3 of the Farnborough International Airshow, the first three AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters were officially delivered to the UK Ministry of Defense.

The keys of the first Wildcat multi-role chopper, were taken over by UK Defense Secretary Philip Hammond.

The first AW159 was accepted in April 2012 and since then a further four aircraft have been delivered with deliveries continuing until 2016 from Finmeccanica‘s AgustaWestland Yeovil production line.

The Wildcat will enter service with the Army (34 helicopters) and Royal Navy (28 helicopters) in battlefield reconnaissance, command and control, transportation and force protection, as well as and shipborne helicopter roles, including an anti-surface warfare. Interestingly, since there is a high degree of commonality between the Army and Royal Navy Wildcats, the aircraft will be able to switch roles if required.

The AW159 is a much modified and update helicopter based on the Lynx. It has a semi-rigid rotor head to give it high agility and is fitted with composite rotor blades utilising the same technology that enabled the Lynx to break the world helicopter speed record. Its pair of CTS800-4N engines, have exhausts which include built-in IR suppression to enhance survivability.

The cockpit features four large area (10” x 8”) displays and a fully integrated avionics suite and mission system. Infra-red and daytime color imagery is provided through a nose mounted Electro Optical Device which incorporates a laser range finder. Naval variants are also equipped with a 360 degree scan radar and weapon carriers for a range of torpedoes, depth charges and anti-surface missiles.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.