The world’s fastest helicopter is being set out to pasture. The British Army has announced that its last five Westland Lynx helicopters will be formally retired on January 31 after 40 years of active service. Once the backbone of Army and the Royal Navy, the Lynx is being replaced by the more advanced Wildcat, and the remaining twin-engine rotorcraft with 657 Squadron are on a tour of southern England before their final decommissioning.
The Lynx was introduced into service in 1978 as a multi-purpose military helicopter. It was originally developed for the British Army and Royal Navy as a replacement for the earlier Westland Scout and Wasp helicopters. From the start, it was ahead of its time as the first aerobatic helicopter capable of executing loops and rolls. Though originally intended as a battlefield utility helicopter, it soon gained a formidable reputation as an anti-armor tank buster as well as a search-and-rescue, reconnaissance, aerobatic display, and anti-submarine platform.