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Fleet Air Arm forms Lynx Wildcat training squadron

26th May 2009 - 17:00 by Tony Osborne in London

700W NAS has been commissioned to form the Lynx Wildcat Fielding Squadron.

The new Squadron replaces the Lynx Operational Evaluation Unit (LOEU) and major changes are now on the horizon for the Lynx Helicopter Force with the anticipated arrival of the AW 159 Lynx Wildcat currently being built by Agusta Westlands.

The first flight of the aircraft is on schedule to take place in November 2009 with the first airframe having entered final assembly in November 2008, ahead of schedule.

The new Squadron is already actively involved the design and development of the Wildcat and will form part of the Combined test Team with AgustaWestlands, QinetiQ and Rotary Wing Test Squadron , Boscombe Down that will bring the aircraft into service.

Speaking at the commissioning Rear Admiral Simon Charlier, Chief of Staff Aviation and Carriers, said "In this Centenary year of Naval Aviation, as well as reflecting on the great history of the Fleet Air Arm it is appropriate that we look to the future.

700W will be a key part of that future and Wildcat a very significant increase in capability compared to the existing Lynx”

700W NAS will receive up to five Wildcats form January 2013 in order to conduct operational evaluation and the conversion training of Lynx Wildcat aircrew and maintainers. The event was sponsored by Selex Galilieo, suppliers of the Seaspray 7400E radar system which will be the primary sensor fitted to the new aircraft.

In addition a greatly improved thermal imaging device will also provide identification and laser weapon designation for the Future Air-Surface Guided Weapons (FASGW). The tactical and aircraft systems will be displayed on glass screens in a step change from the older technology of the present Lynx Fleet.

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