On the 17th March 2017 there was a final flypast of four Royal Navy Lynx Mk.8 helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset before its official decommissioning on the 23rd March 2017.
Flight 208 was the last Lynx Mk.8 to return from deployment back to RNAS Yeovilton after nine months aboard the frigate HMS Portland. This helicopter was flown by Lieutenant Laura Cambrook and returned to RNAS Yeovilton on the 10th March 2017. See the Daily Mail article here
The Lynx Farewell Flypast took place on the 17th March, consisting of four Lynx helicopters which conducted a five-hour flypast across southern England. There was a morning flypast (09:58 to 11:28hrs) over the South-west of England and an afternoon flypast (12:18-15:18hrs) over Southern and South-East England (See map).
The four Lynx Mk.8 helicopters were ZF562, ZF563, ZF557 and XZ689. The camera ship was a Merlin HM2 ZH851 (Kingfisher 500) from RNAS Culdrose.
Schools, workplaces, former Lynx men and women, enthusiasts and supporters turned out to wave to the formation of helicopters as they passed overhead and helped give Lynx the send off she deserved!.
The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter, designed and built by Westland Helicopters, at its factory in Yeovil. The fast and agile Lynx was the world's first fully aerobatic helicopter, with the ability to perform loops and rolls, and a specially modified Lynx set the current official airspeed record for helicopters at 400.87 km/h, in 1986.
Several versions of the Lynx were operated by the Army Air Corps, the Royal Navy, and export versions for many other countries.
The Royal Navy Lynx first entered service on the 1st September 1976 and will have reached forty one years of service when it is retired in March 2017.
The Royal Navy displayed a pair of Lynx helicopters, called the 'Black Cats', at air shows up and down the country. The team was formed in 2001 as the 'Lynx Pair' but from 2004 they were called the 'Black Cats'.
The current Royal Navy Lynx is operated by 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) based at RNAS Yeovilton and is operated from the decks of Royal Navy frigates and destroyers as well as the ice patrol ship HMS Endurance. It is armed with Sea Skua missiles for attacking small surface vessels, Sting Ray torpedoes & depth charges for attacking submarines, and it also has a door-mounted Browning AN/M3M .50 calibre heavy machine gun.
The Royal Navy Lynx has served in the Falklands conflict where it was used to maintain continuous anti-submarine patrols to protect the British task force, and also conducted the first combat-firing of a Sea Skua missile, firing and inflicting serious damage to an Argentinian patrol boat. It also served in both the Gulf Wars and in the 1991 Gulf War, it launched twenty five Sea Skua missiles, which caused heavy damage to a significant portion of Iraq's navy.
The Lynx is being replaced by the new AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopter, which will be operated by both the Royal Navy and British Army. All the Wildcat helicopters will be based at RNAS Yeovilton. The Wildcat helicopter resembles the Lynx but has been heavily modernised with a glass cockpit, modern sensors, as well as an improved range and payload.
You can see Westland's former Lynx demonstrator 'G-LYNX' as well as the Lynx-3 prototype 'ZE477' at 'The Helicopter Museum' in Weston-super-Mare. Yeovilton's 'Fleet Air Museum' has a Westland Lynx HAS3 (XZ699) and Westland Lynx HAS3GMS (XZ720). The 'Imperial War Museum' at Duxford has a Westland Lynx AH.7 (XZ194).