SuperLynx maintenance adds up


AgustaWestland has been awarded a R2.6 million contract to provide further interim product support for the South African Air Force’s four Super Lynx 300 Mk 64 maritime helicopters. The contract takes “interim product support” for the rotorcraft to R37 750 605 since 2007.

South Africa took delivery of four of the aircraft in July 2007. Although operated by the SAAF and assigned to 22 Squadron at AFB Ysterplaat, the type will operationally fly from the SA Navy’s four Meko A200SAN frigates.

Defence Systems Daily reported in November 1998 that the aircraft cost UK80 million (then US$132 million, R756 million). The SA government has never confirmed the amount.

The type was selected in competition against the Eurocopter AS532 Cougar and the Russian Kamov Ka 28 Helix. A dark horse in the race, imagined or otherwise, was Kaman’s SG-2G Seasprite, said to be cheaper but is equally effective. Super Lynx pipped them to the post and a deal to deliver the four from April 2007 was signed in Pretoria on August 14, 2003.

Aboard the frigates they greatly expand the ship’s radar horizon and surface search ability in addition to providing midcourse guidance to its Exocet surface-to-surface missiles and gunfire fall spotting. The helicopter will in time provide the frigates their primary antisubmarine capability in addition to doing search-and-rescue, maritime patrol and utility duty.

The Super Lynx is the result of a programme launched in 1998 to produce a new generation of the rotorcraft. Malaysia placed an order for six in 1999 and the Royal Thai Navy confirmed its order for two in August 2001. The Sultanate of Oman signed an agreement in January 2002 for 16. According to the sales literature, the Super Lynx 300 was developed from the proven Super Lynx 100. It incorporates an all new integrated “glass” cockpit with a colour liquid crystal display system provides the crew with state-of-the-art technology increasing crew and mission effectiveness.

The more powerful CTS800-4N engines, jointly developed by Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, complemented with a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) reportedly delivers low maintenance, enhanced performance and excellent economy with over 30% more power. The airframe is expected to last 10 000 hours.

The Telephonics Ocean-Eye radar is the aircraft’s primary mission sensor and allows the crew to detect and track small to large surface contacts at long ranges. South African components include a Sysdel Sea Raven electronic support measure suite for passive target detection and identification, a Saab Grintek Avitronics EW countermeasures system, an Aerosud armoured flight crew seats as well as an infrared exhaust suppression system – by the same company.

Denel (now Carl Zeiss) Optronics supplied the Argos 410-M E electro-optical sighting system (EOSS) and Tellumat an Identification Friend or Foe system. Thales Advanced Engineering was contracted to supply a datalink as a well as a “video grabber”, a dedicated bit of software that allows the transfer of video material taken by the EOSS to be transmitted to the mothership for further action. Reutech Defence Industries and Saab Grintek Communications Systems provided the HF and V/UHF radios. Also fitted are a 360 degree scan search radar and a nose mounted FLIR.

A 12.7mm HMG for self-protection is also part of the current role equipment while growth options including the Denel Dynamics Mokopa precision guided missile, anti-ship missiles, depth charges, torpedoes and rockets.