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Dutch Defence Forces say farewell to the Westland Lynx helicopter.


Between 1976 and 2012 (yes, that’s 36 years ....) Westland Lynx helicopters have flown more than 160,000 hours for Dutch Defense Forces. A total of 24 helicopters were bought in the seventees to perform land- and shipborne operations and they spent almost all of their service life with the ‘Marineluchtvaartdienst’ (Naval Air Service). The last flight with a Dutch Lynx helicopter took place on 11 September 2012.

Start of the ‘little racer’

Through the years

The Lynx helicopter, or officially Westland WG.13, was first flown on 21 March 1971 and six prototypes were ordered, followed by seven pre-production prototypes to speed up development. Service trials began in 1976 with No. 700L Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, this being a joint Royal Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy operational evaluation unit. Almost at the same time, the first six Dutch airframes were produced. Six were delivered by the end of 1977. The model was called UH-14A in Dutch service and the initial buy was for six SAR helicopters, followed two year later by ten ASW-versions, called SH-14B. A third batch was for eight MAD-equipped SH-14C’s, delivered back to back to the ‘B’-models. By the summer of 1980, all 24 helicopters had been delivered. These models compared roughly to the Royal Navy HAS Mk.2 version. A standardization program called STAMOL - Standardisation and Modernisation Lynx - in the early nineties brought all versions up to the same specification and the 22 remaining airframes ended their useful lives as SH-14D models. Some life extension programs had to be performed between 2004 and 2010 to keep ten Lynxes flying, necessitated by the repeated delays of its successor, the NH-90.


Landbased at De Kooij Naval Air Base near Den Helder, the homeport of the Dutch Navy fleet, the helicopters were used by the two resident squadrons, nos. 7 and 860, the former being the training and SAR-unit, the latter the shipbased ASW and special missions unit. The MARHELI Group provided support to the flying units. More importantly, 1,332 people were rescued during SAR missions and due to their equipment Lynxes were usually first on the spot when a natural disaster took place like floodings, hurricanes of famishes in Africa and the Caribbean. The Lynx helicopter also answered distress calls from the Dutch ‘Wadden’-isles when civilians needed urgent transportation to a hospital on the mainland. In 2008 during one of the recent defence restructurings the Marineluchtvaartdienst was dissolved into Dutch Helicopter Command (DHC) putting all Dutch rotary assets under a single command



Rotterdam 2012



Ship’s flights

When Lynx helicopters were stationed stationed on a ship, they received a ‘flight’ name. Famous cartoon figures were put on the side or on the nose of the helicopters. Well known figures include The Pink Panther, Obelix, The Dalton Brothers and Turtle Flight (indeed Ninja Turtles). The names were not to 'stick' to a specific helicopter; after the tour on the ship the stickers were removed. For instance forNinja Flight ten different registrations were noted throughout the years.

The future
The successor to the Lynx is the NH90 NFH. The two types provided a flight demonstration together in September 2012 during the World Port Days in Rotterdam. This was to be the last public appearance of the Lynx in Dutch military service.

In 2011 five Lynxes were left operational, and no more than three in 2012. The last Dutch Lynx flight was performed on 11 September 2012 by number 261, who flew her last hour ever leading a DHC helicopter flypast, after which she landed at De Kooij ... end of an era.

Dutch Westland Lynx serials and history      
Serial Delivery Type Type Prev Serial c/n Unit Delivery date Observations
260 UH-14A (Mk 25) SH-14D G-17-1 3 DMO 14-11-1976 Stored at De Kooy (2012) - to become gate guard at De Kooy '13
261 UH-14A (Mk 25) SH-14D   7 DMO 16-12-1976 Stored at De Kooy (2012) - last flight 12-09-12 - to Militair Museum Brussel '13
262 UH-14A (Mk 25) SH-14D   14 DMO 1-7-1977 GI - at DHC Gilze-Rijen
263 UH-14A (Mk 25) SH-14D G-17-2 20 7 SQN. 24-8-1977 Crashed 1 Apr 1982 into water near Texel during night mission, 3 casualties
264 UH-14A (Mk 25) SH-14D G-17-3 22 DMO 22-9-1977 GI - at Technical University Delft
265 UH-14A (Mk 25) SH-14D G-17-4 23 DMO 4-11-1977 Stored at De Kooy (2011) - scr DMO?
266 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D G-17-20 76 DMO 12-9-1979 GI - at KMSL/LCW Woensdrecht
267 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D   86 DMO 4-12-1979 Stored at De Kooy (2011) - scr DMO?
268 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D G-17-20 105 DMO 21-9-1979 Stored at Gilze-Rijen (2011)
269 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D G-17-5 108 DMO 6-11-1979 GI - at DHC Gilze-Rijen (2012) - scr ?
270 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D   112 DMO 30-11-1979 Stored at Gilze-Rijen (2011) - scr 25-05-12?
271 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D G-17-22 118 DMO 11-12-1979 Stored at Gilze-Rijen (2011) - scr 25-05-12?
272 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D G-17-23 124 DMO 30-1-1980 GI - at DHC Gilze-Rijen
273 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D G-17-20 130 DMO 12-2-1980 GI - at VTOC Fokker Aalsmeer
274 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D   137 DMO 5-5-1980 Stored at De Kooy (2011) - scr DMO?
275 UH-14B (Mk 27) SH-14D   143 860 SQN. 1-9-1980 Crashed 31 Mar 1982 into water near Norfolk, VA during night mission, 1 casualty
276 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-25 174 DMO 10-10-1980 Stored at Gilze-Rijen (2012) - scr 23-05-12?
277 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-26 194 860 SQN. 31-10-1980 W/o 10 Mar 2011 near Sirte, Libya during exfil mission. Returned and scr Aug 2012
278 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-27 197 DMO 31-10-1980 Stored at De Kooy (2011) - Preserved for Traditiekamer De Kooy
279 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-28 198 DMO 8-1-1981 Stored at De Kooy (2012) - Last on-board heli ex-HMS Tromp 2012 - scr DMO?
280 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-29 206 DMO 3-6-1981 GI - at Daltion College Zwolle
281 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-30 211 DMO 12-3-1981 Stored at De Kooy (2012) - scr DMO?
282 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-31 215 860 SQN. 9-4-1981 W/o 10 Nov 1998 at De Kooy, engine fire due to fatigue issues, no casualties
283 UH-14C (Mk 81) SH-14D G-17-32 219 DMO 9-4-1981 Stored at De Kooy (2012) - Last Lynx  public demo 09-09-12 - to MLM museum '12
Last changes: 19 nov 2012         Delivery dates as per 'Grey Lynx' / Copyright Luis Laranjeira


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