22 Mei 2011

Wildcat Pushing for South-East Asia Upgrades

22 Mei 2011

Royal Thai Navy's Super Lynx 300 ASW helicopter (photo : USNavy)

UKTI Defence & Security Organisation (DSO) is 'in discussions' with various South-East Asian militaries to upgrade their Lynx helicopters for the maritime environment, according to a senior official.

Speaking to Shephard at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) in Singapore, Keith Smith, UKTI DSO Regional Director East described how a number of Lynx-operating nations were 'seriously' considering such upgrades particularly in the realm of anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

Referring to the 33 AgustaWestland Lynx helicopters currently being operated in the region, Smith said: 'There is the potential to re-role these helicopters for different uses and quite a few Lynx operators in the region are seriously looking at the evolution of Lynx and Wildcat and ASW.

'Merlin ASW is a capable and very attractive, new generation, six-ton military helicopter and Wildcat is unique in that it will be used by the [British] army and [Royal] navy and all will be “marinised”,' he continued.

Existing Lynx users in the region include the Republic of Korea Navy which has 12 Super Lynx Mk 99 and 13 Super Lynx Mk 99A aircraft; the Royal Malaysian Navy which has six Super Lynx Mk 100s; and the Royal Thai Navy with two Super Lynx 300s.

'Discussions are ongoing but I cannot comment further,' Smith added. 'The UK is committed to 62 airframes so potentially, it would be very attractive for other nations to piggy back on the back of that.

'All potential deals are bespoke. Economics and throughlife costs savings are common throughout. I see a scenario where quite a small number of platforms generate a long term pattern of benefit for the local economy. To be able to maintain and operate [helicopter assets] under their own steam, there has to be a certain degree of technology transfer,' he said.

(Shephard)

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