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NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2009 9
RACING low over the Irish Sea, this
is the apotheosis of the Lynx – the
Mk 8 Saturn with radio upgrade for
the record.
The latest variant of the veteran
helicopter, backbone of the frigate
and destroyer fleet, headed to the
QinetiQ ranges at Aberporth in west
Wales, for Exercise Aftershock 5.
The tweaked Lynx entered
service with 815 Naval Air
Squadron at Yeovilton earlier this
year.
Those ‘tweaks’ actually constitute
a considerable enhancement of
the communications system, a
new Successor IFF to distinguish
between friend and foe, avionics
upgrades and improved mission
computers.
What better way to test all this
wizardry than with a trip to Wales
and firing some live anti-ship
missiles?
Sea Skua is coming towards the
end of its active life with the Royal
Navy having been fi red in anger in
the Falklands (when it was brand
new) and to particular effect in the
fi rst war with Saddam Hussein.
Aftershock 5 fi rings took place
very close to the Sea Skua’s
maximum range of the missile
(which is classifi ed) and included
the fi rst ‘ripple three’ fi ring – three
Sea Skuas launched from one
aircraft at a drone target bobbing
around on the ocean.
The results were very successful
with the target peppered with holes.
The trials also exposed a new
generation of Lynx aircrew to
missile fi rings – while ground crew
picked up valuable experience in
handling and loading a live missile.
“Aftershock 5 has demonstrated
the potent combination of Lynx
and Sea Skua as an anti-ship
capability,” said Lt Cdr Shaun
Enever, the Lynx Force Warfare
Offi cer.
“The opportunity to get missiles
away and give experience to
relatively junior crews will ensure
that corporate knowledge remains
within the Lynx Force for the
remaining life of the Sea Skua
before the next generation of
weapon enters service with the
Wildcat Lynx.”
Picture: PO(Phot) Paul A’Barrow
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SENSE, SEEK, STRIKE: SEA VIPER / PAAMS
NAVAL AIR DEFENCE by MBDA
SEA DART - SEA WOLF - SEA SKUA - SEA VIPER
www.mbda-systems.com
009_NN_Sept.indd 1 18/8/09 11:47:33
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