The MOD has announced that the upgraded Lynx Mk.9A has arrived and started operational service in Afghanistan. The first aircraft arrived in theatre courtesy of an RAF C-17 Globemaster III earlier this month. Although no specific date was given for their arrival at Camp Bastion, two aircraft, ZG888 and ZG915, were noted at Brize Norton on April 12 awaiting shipment following their return from flight trials in Kenya earlier this year.
The Lynx Mk.9A is an upgraded version of the Mk.9 and features LHTECH CTS800N engines which offer significantly more power over the original ‘wheezy’ Rolls Royce Gems. This will vastly improve the Lynx’s hot and high performance in Afghanistan. Prior to this operations were severely restricted especially during the summer months.
This additional engine power also allows the Mk.9A to carry heavier weapons as pictures have been released of the aircraft fitted with the 0.50 M3M HMG, which is a significant increase in fire power over the usual 7.62 L7 GPMG.
In addition to the new engines the Mk.9A is also fitted improved secure communications equipment. Given this quantum leap in capability over the previous Mk.7 and Mk.9 variants, it will be a welcome addition to the flight line.