First Navy Wildcat makes maiden flight
28 January 2013
The first AgustaWestland Wildcat attack helicopter to be delivered to the Royal Navy has successfully taken its first flight at Yeovil in Somerset.
The Wildcat has a more powerful engine, allowing it to be flown in extreme conditions all year round. It is also equipped with a more robust fuselage, a high-tech interactive display and a new radar system that provides 360-degree surveillance.
The Wildcat HMA Mark 2 will carry Sting Ray torpedoes, a door-mounted, 0.5-inch heavy machine gun and new light and heavy variants of the future anti-surface guided weapon missiles.
Expected to perform a range of tasks once in service, the maritime Wildcat attack helicopter will be used in anti-surface warfare, force protection and counter-piracy. It will also be able to carry out an anti-submarine role.
The support and training contract with AgustaWestland is good news for the local economy in Somerset, securing 500 highly skilled jobs in the defence sector. The MoD signed a £250m million contract with AgustaWestland last year to provide support and training for the Royal Navy and British Army’s 62-strong fleet of Wildcat helicopters.
The Royal Navy will receive 28 maritime attack variant helicopters, which will begin operations across the globe from 2015 and replace the existing Lynx Mark 8.