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Wednesday January 30, 2002

UK MoD Approves Future Lynx Funding

UK ( Westland Press Release ) - The Ministry of Defence has announced that it has given the go-ahead to the Assessment Phase for the UK's Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH) requirement. AgustaWestland's Future Lynx has been selected on a single tender basis for this Assessment Phase.

The Future Lynx design is a development of the existing Lynx helicopter, which is in service with the British Army and Royal Navy. It incorporates an improved airframe, new engines and a modern avionics suite. The Future Lynx concept has been developed in order to provide a common air-vehicle to meet the Army and potential future Royal Navy requirements.

Under Smart Acquisition, the purpose of the Assessment Phase is to provide the necessary high confidence in the effectiveness of the aircraft, in programme timing and through-life costs before a commitment to Manufacturing. The Assessment Phase activity for Future Lynx will consist of engineering design and design proving work together with a focus on through-life support aspects, many of which will also directly benefit the current in-service fleet. The Assessment Phase is likely to take up to 18 months to complete.

Future Lynx builds strongly on the experience of recent export programmes which have proven the concept of developing existing aircraft and the performance enhancement from the new LHTEC CTS 800-4N engines, jointly developed by Rolls-Royce and Honeywell. For the modernisation of Lynx avionics, AgustaWestland will be working closely with Thales as its collaborative partner and also Smiths and BAE Systems, each of whom also brings strengths from existing products and programmes.

Alan Johnston, Managing Director of Westland Helicopters Ltd, welcomed the announcement: "Future Lynx builds strongly on the Super Lynx 300 aircraft which has recently sold in 3 overseas countries. Today's announcement is a tremendous vote of confidence in Westland's capability, the company's investment in the future standard of Lynx and in its major supply partners on Future Lynx. But, we do recognise that the single tender approach is a significant step for MoD to take. We shall continue to work closely with the MoD team to ensure a successful outcome to the Assessment Phase activity in order to take Future Lynx forward into manufacture".

AgustaWestland became fully operational on February 12 2001. The completion followed both the agreement drawn up by Finmeccanica SpA of Italy and GKN plc of the UK on July 26 2000 and the subsequent European regulatory approvals. The Joint Venture company is 50% each owned by Finmeccanica and GKN. AgustaWestland is a single European company trading as Agusta SpA in Italy and as Westland Helicopters Ltd in the UK.

With a combined 2000 revenue of more than $2.2 billion and a civil and defence order book of about $7 billion, AgustaWestland is now a powerful force in the world helicopter industry. It is a leader in a number of the world's most important programmes and has an impressive pipeline of new products and technologies. Strategic partnerships have been forged with other helicopter manufacturers such as Bell, Boeing and NH Industries and these have further strengthened the product range. AgustaWestland can now satisfy a wide range of needs from both civil and military customers with integrated platform systems that encompass all the principal weight categories that can be adapted to a wide range of missions. Such products range from the innovative 2.5 ton light single-engine A119 Koala to the 14 ton three-engine EH101 helicopter.

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