The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants, which went into operational usage in 1977 and were later adopted by the armed forces of over a dozen nations, where it primarily serves in the battlefield utility, anti-armour, search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare roles. In 1986 a specially modified Lynx set the current Fédération Aéronautique Internationale's official airspeed record for helicopters. The helicopter is now produced and marketed by AgustaWestland.
The Lynx Mk.2(FN) entered service with the French Navy's Aviation navale in 1979. In British service, the Lynx is used by the Army Air Corps (AAC) and the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). The Lynx AH.1 entered service with the AAC in 1979, followed by the Lynx HAS.2 with the FAA in 1981. The FAA Lynx fleet was upgraded to Lynx HAS.3 standard during the 1980s, and again to Lynx HMA.8 standard in the 1990s. Most Army Lynx were later upgraded to Lynx AH.7 standard.
As of 2009[update], the AAC operate the Lynx AH.7 and AH.9 as utility helicopters. Army owned Lynx AH.7 and AH.9 are also in service with the FAA where they operate as attack/utility helicopters in support of the Royal Marines. Lynx HAS.3 and HMA.8 operate as anti-submarine warfare and maritime attack helicopters equipped with the Stingray torpedo, Sea Skua anti-ship missile and depth charge for Royal Navy warships. HAS.3 and HMA.8 are also capable of anti-trafficking and anti-piracy roles when carrying boarding parties and when fitted with the FN Herstal M3M pintle mounted heavy machine gun.