Beefed-up helicopters have taken to the skies in Afghanistan as part of efforts to give British troops more firepower on the frontline.
Military chiefs welcomed the arrival of the Lynx Mk9As, which boast more powerful engines and the ability to operate all year round in the extreme weather over Helmand Province.
The Lynx Mk9A is fitted with a more advanced communication system, improved surveillance equipment and the M3M machine gun, capable of firing more than 850 rounds a minute, the Ministry of Defence said.
The announcement comes after grieving widow Christina Schmid questioned why no helicopters were made available after her husband Olaf, a bomb disposal expert, was blown up.
Speaking to GMTV, Mrs Schmid said: "There weren't any helicopters available. That begs the question, if he had just lost a limb would he have got out, would he have survived?"
The helicopters were transported by C-17 Globemaster aircraft from RAF Brize Norton to Camp Bastion.
Rotor blades have been fitted and familiarisation flights took place before operational sorties began in earnest earlier this month.
Major Max Lytle, officer commanding 672 Squadron, said: "We are now in Afghanistan, playing an important role in protecting our ground forces and carrying out surveillance, boosting performance in Afghanistan's challenging conditions."
The MoD said there will eventually by 22 Lynx aircraft upgraded to the Mk9A standard.
Army aircrews undertook extensive pre-deployment flight training on the new aircraft in Kenya to gain flying experience in similar hot and high conditions.