The Portuguese Navy’s first modernized Super Lynx Mk 95 helicopter performed its first flight on Feb. 14, the service announced.
The helicopter is the first of the five Portuguese Navy Super Lynx Mk95 helicopters which are undergoing modernization process at the Leonardo Helicopters’ facility in Yeovil, UK.
Helicóptero da Marinha Portuguesa realiza primeiro voo após processo de modernização
Um dos cinco helicópteros da Marinha Portuguesa que se encontram em processo de modernização realizou com sucesso o primeiro voo de treino.
— Marinha (@MarinhaPT) February 18, 2020
According to the Navy, its five Lynx Mk95 helicopters reached the half-life condition in 2015, after 23 years of operation, and it became necessary to modernize some avionics systems and equipment, including the engines.
Thus, the Portuguese Navy signed a EUR69 million (USD76.4 million) contract with Leonardo Helicopters, the exclusive manufacturer of Lynx, on July 21, 2016, with the objective of modernizing the helicopters. The modernization project started in September of the same year.
The five helicopters are being subjected to structural modification work resulting from the installation of new LHTEC CTS800-4N turboshaft engines replacing the original Rolls-Royce Gem 42 engines. In the avionics area, upgrades are being made to the navigation systems, with updated inertial navigation systems being introduced.
Within the scope of these interventions, work is still underway to replace the current instrument panel and the current hydraulic rescue winch with a more reliable electric winch, as well as the installation of a vibration dampening system for the main rotor.
The first modernized helicopter is expected to arrive in Portugal at the end of the second quarter of this year with the fifth expected to be delivered by late 2021.
The Portuguese Naval Aviation of the Portuguese Navy exclusively operates the Super Lynx Mk.95 helicopter. In 1990, Portugal signed a contract for a total of five Super Lynx, two of them being refurbished ex-Royal Navy aircraft. A total of two Lynx can be operated from the flight deck of a single Vasco da Gama-class frigate; they typically accompany the vessels, including during long distance deployments for anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa.