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The Royal Navy is bidding farewell to the Lynx helicopter with a flypast over southern England. It is a chance for fans to say goodbye to the maritime aircraft, which is being decommissioned after 41 years. Four Mark 8 Lynxes are taking a tour of military sites associated with the helicopter after departing from their Yeovilton base. They will fly over locations including Weston-super-Mare, Lyme Regis and Navy Command Headquarters in Portsmouth. The LynxImage copyrightLPHOT DAN ROSENBAUM Image caption The Lynx was based at RNAS Portland in Dorset for over half of its service life Media captionThe helicopter is being retired from the Navy fleet after 41 years The Lynx, which will be decommissioned at the end of the month, was based at RNAS Portland in Dorset for over half of its service before moving to RNAS Yeovilton. The British-made aircraft remains popular, with a Lynx Community celebrating the flypast in Weymouth and Portland. The Mark 8s are flying over Glastonbury Tor, Rolls Royce Filton, Weston-Super-Mare helicopter museum, Devonport and Britannia Royal Naval College before following the coast to Lyme Regis. After 12:00 the Lynxes will visit Portland, Lulworth, Sandbanks and Fleetlands, before reaching their eastern most point, the Isle of Dogs, and following the River Thames westwards through Middle Wallop, Boscombe Down and Compton Abbas.
The AW159 Wildcat is the successor to, and a further development of, the Westland Lynx. While the AW159 shares broad similarities in appearance to the Lynx, it has significant design differences and is heavily modernised and adapted to gain new attributes and functionality. The AW159 comprises 95% new components; the remaining 5%, consisting of such items as the fuel system and main rotor gearbox, are interchangeable with the Lynx AH7 and HMA8 variants. During development, the Army and Navy variants of the Wildcat reportedly maintained 98 per cent commonality with one another. The AW159 is the first helicopter by AgustaWestland to be designed inside an entirely digital environment. Among other changes, certain external elements of the Wildcat, such as the tail rotor, have been redesigned for greater durability and stealth qualities.