Lynx helicopters help bring fight to Taliban
After nearly two months of being operational in Afghanistan, the world's fastest helicopter, the Lynx Mark 9A, has proved to be a vital boost to the UK's battlefield capability.
The crews from the Army Air Corps that fly the aircraft say it has massively enhanced capability, as it is light and agile and perfect for the rapid deployment and extraction of small numbers of troops.
In comparison to their predecessors, the Lynx Mk9As have increased fire power, more powerful engines, and the ability to operate all year in the harsh 'hot and high' Afghan environment.
The helicopter, which is capable of lifting surprisingly heavy loads for its size, is currently flown in Afghanistan by 672 Squadron of the Army Air Corps.
The aircraft's value in the battle against insurgents lies in its versatile performance. The Lynx crews can track insurgent movements and watch over vulnerable areas with its sophisticated surveillance camera. This 'overwatch' capability helps in the protection of the massive convoys used to resupply front line troops in the forward operating bases.
The convoys can be vulnerable to attack as they track across vast swathes of desert from base to base but with the Lynx and its formidable weapons systems circling above, the insurgents stay away.
The searing heat of the Afghan summers regularly sees temperatures soar over 45C which meant that other aircraft could only fly at night and even then their lift capacity was limited.
The upgraded Lynx joined the other aircraft in Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan) (JHF(A)), commanded from Camp Bastion, in May 2010. The Joint Helicopter Force comprises helicopters from all three Services operating to support the multinational coalition effort, including Chinooks, Merlins, Apaches and Sea Kings.
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