The Westland-built Lynx maritime helicopter, truly a multi-role machine, is approaching the end of its service with the Royal Navy as the new Wildcat comes into use. It entered service in the 1970s and has been a vital part of Navy operations worldwide, including the Falklands conflict, both Gulf wars, and more recent anti-piracy missions. The Lynx, which has a wheeled undercarriage in maritime form, operates from the small decks of the Navy's frigates and destroyers, as well as the ice patrol ship HMS Endurance. Its primary armament comprises Sea Skua missiles for anti-surface warfare, and Sting Ray torpedoes and depth charges for use against submarines; door-mounted guns can tackle smaller surface targets. From the Lynx may also deploy Royal Marines boarding teams, abseiling down from the helicopter to seize hostile vessels. The current in-service version is the HMA8, flown by two squadrons from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset.
Photo credit: Ben Dunnell