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LYNX AH.1 XZ666 ‘Damien’

Lynx AH.1 "Damien" XZ666 in the compound of its final home at the Ulster Aviation Society

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

History of the Lynx Helicopter

The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters in Yeovil.

 

The initial design, known as the Westland WG.13, began development in the mid-1960s as a replacement for the Westland Scout and Wasp, with a more advanced alternative to the UH-1 Iroquois in mind.

The Lynx was originally intended for utility purposes for both civil and naval use, but military interest led to the development of battlefield and naval variants.

The British Army ordered over 100 Lynx helicopters under the designation  of  Lynx AH.1 (Army Helicopter Mark 1) to perform several roles, such as transport, armed escort, anti-tank warfare (with eight TOW missiles), reconnaissance and evacuation missions.

Lynx AH.1 Helicopter XZ666 ("Damien") from the rear

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

World Airspeed Record for Helicopters

The Lynx went into operational service in 1977 and was later adopted by the armed forces of over a dozen nations. It primarily served in battlefield utility, anti-armour, search and rescue, and anti-submarine warfare roles. 

 

The Lynx AH.1 variant, including the UAS' Lynx XZ666, was the first British Army variant, with 113 built between 1977-1984.

One of the standout features of the Lynx is its fully aerobatic capabilities, allowing it to perform loops and rolls.

 

In 1986, pilot Trevor Egginton in a specially modified Lynx — G-LYNX —  with Gem 60 engines and "BERP" rotor blades, set the airspeed record for helicopters at 249.09 mph (400.87 km/h), an official record that remains unbroken to this day.

​On 19 March 1994, during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) brought down Lynx AH.7 ZD275 of the AAC with an improvised mortar, striking it while attempting to land at Crossmaglen Army base. The Army pilot managed to crash land and the aircraft was destroyed, but all crew on board survived.

History of Lynx AH.1 — XZ666

XZ666 (also called "Treble Six") was assembled in September 1978 and underwent various modifications, including the installation of weapons hard points and electrical fittings.

Infamously nick-named as 'Damien', it served as a line cab, utility helicopter or the "Reserve Cab" by the Army Air Corps and was part of 655 Squadron based at Shackleton Barracks, Ballykelly, especially between 1986-1990.

In early 1990, a large vertical crack was found on its port side, 45cm forward of the centre section, to tail boom transportation joint. MARTSU (Navy Fleetlands) where called in and it was returned to GB for repair).

 

It replaced the Westland Scout to support the Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary during 'Operation: Banner'. Unfortunately, XZ666 was written off from flight duties in 1994.

Manufacturer: Westland

Model: Lynx AH.1
 
Registration: XZ666
(nick-named "Damien")


UAS Location: Hangar 1

Operating Life: 
1979-1994

Maximum Speed:  199mph

Cruise Speed: 144mph

Engine:   Rolls-Royce Gem 2

Service Ceiling: 10,500ft

Length & Height11.92m x 3.59m

Rotor Diameter: 12.8m

Range: 328 miles

Fuel Capacity:  162 Gallons

Empty Weight:  2.74T

Max Take-Off Weight:  10.5T


Served with: British Army
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