AgustaWestland now has the second AW159 Lynx Wildcat in flight trials. The first flight of the second aircraft occurred on October 14 at Yeovil, the company points out, with a third prototype to join the flight test program before month’s end.
But the biggest near-term hurdle for the program is not the technical progress; it is the pending Strategic Defense and Security Review due to be released in the U.K. in the coming week. The AW159 is one of the programs that could be rescoped significantly as a result of budget cuts due to be announced.
The procurement total has already been reduced once, to 62 from 70. The 34 AW159s are seen as more at risk than the 28 for the Royal Navy.
Under current plans, the Army’s Lynx Wildcat are to become operational in 2014, followed a year later by the Royal Navy version.