The AW159 twin-engine multi-mission military helicopter is capable of autonomous detection, identification and attack of Land and Naval targets, featuring state-of-the-art avionics and mission systems for excellent crew situational awareness, along with complete suite of self-protection measures facilitating rapid tactical assessment in any theatre of operations. The AW159 has been developed as a Lynx successor with a semi-rigid rotor head to give it high agility and is fitted with composite rotor blades utilising the same technology that enabled the Lynx to break the world helicopter speed record.
Leonardo has shown the Wildcat Weapon Wing for the AW159 naval Wildcat HMA2 helicopter which permits the Wildcat to launch missiles. The weapon wing design has been enhanced aerodynamically since then, adding 360 kilograms (794 pounds) of lift to help offset the extra weight of the wing and its missiles. Made from aluminum and carbon-fiber composites, the wing has four hardpoints, each of which can carry a cluster of five Thales Martlet lightweight laser-guided missiles in their launch tubes, or a single MBDA Sea Venom. Other weaponry carried by the Wildcat includes the BAE Systems Stingray torpedo, Mk 11 depth charges, and pintle-mounted 0.5-in (12.7-mm) machine-gun.
There are four large area (10″ x 8″) cockpit displays and a fully integrated avionics suite and mission system to provide increased mission capability and reduced crew workload. A nose mounted Electro Optical Device provides infra-red and daytime colour imagery and incorporates a laser range finder. The aircraft also has a comprehensive defensive aids suite including radar and missile warning systems, counter measures dispensing system and electronic support measures. Naval variants are also equipped with a 360 degree scan radar and weapon carriers for a range of torpedoes, depth charges and anti-surface missiles.
The Leonardo AW159 Wildcat is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. All variants of the Wildcat share the same defensive aids arrangement, which shares some commonality with the AgustaWestland Apache; features include missile warning sensors, countermeasures dispensers, and infrared exhaust suppressors. In British service, common variants are being operated by both the Royal Navy and British Army. The AW159 has also been offered to several export customers, and has been ordered by the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy.