AgustaWestland, October 30, 2007 - The first monolithic machined panel for the first AgustaWestland Future Lynx was manufactured last week at Oldland CNC's facility in Bristol, United Kingdom.
The manufacture of the first component, a lower fuselage bulkhead, was witnessed by representatives from the UK Ministry of Defence Integrated Project Team and AgustaWestland. Oldland CNC is manufacturing 83 of the 147 Future Lynx primary structure monolithic machined components and supplying them to GKN Aerospace for incorporation into the airframe prior to delivery to AgustaWestland. The monolithic machinings that are used in Future Lynx dramatically reduce parts count, assembly time and reduce in service maintenance.
Graham Cole, Managing Director Business, AgustaWestland said "The start of manufacture of the Future Lynx represents an important step in the evolution of the next generation of Lynx for the Ministry of Defence. As the first programme to be signed under the Strategic Partnering Arrangement I am delighted that every programme milestone has been met on time and we look forward to the first flight in late 2009."
Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East commented, "I am delighted to learn that the first machine cutting of the Future Lynx helicopter programme took place in Bristol. The entire programme is important for the region and the partnership between AgustaWestland, GKN Aerospace and Oldland CNC is good news for the 60 employees of Oldland CNC and the wider community."
The first Future Lynx, a Battlefield Reconnaisance Helicopter (BRH) variant for the British Army, is on target to fly late 2009 and will be followed by the first Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft (SCMR) variant for the Royal Navy. The BRH and SCMR variants have over 90% commonality and are powered by CTS800-4N engines.
In June 2006 the UK Ministry of Defence awarded a contract valued at nearly £1 billion to supply 70 Future Lynx helicopters comprising 40 BRH variants and 30 SCMR variants with option for a further 10 aircraft. The BRH variant will enter operational service in 2013 and the SCMR variant in 2014. So far, more than 80% of the project design activity has been completed with a full air vehicle critical design review scheduled to take place in April 2008.