MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) will receive its first two anti-submarine helicopters, AgustaWestland AW159 "Wildcat", in March next year.
"Siguro sa March ang delivery (The delivery is probably in March 2019)," PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said when asked about the delivery dates for the two aircraft, during an interview with reporters Monday.
The AW159s, to be sourced from the Anglo-Italian aircraft manufacturer AgustaWestland, will help the two missile-armed frigates being constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries for PHP18 billion, against submarine attacks.
"Itong anti-submarine warfare will (help the frigates against submarine attacks) kasi yun submarine ang magpapalubog ng mga barko (These anti-submarine helicopters will help the frigates against submarine attacks because submarines sink ships). So this will help in the defense of the frigates," Empedrad added.
The contract for the two anti-submarine helicopters is worth PHP5.4 billion and includes munition, mission essential equipment, and integrated logistic support. The AW159, previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat, is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter.
The helicopter, which has been ordered for the Royal Navy and British Army, is capable of speeds of 291 km/h, has a range of 777 km., a ferry range of 963 km., and an endurance of one-and-a-half hours (four hours and 30 minutes if fitted with auxiliary fuel).
The AW159 can be fitted with forward firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns, pintle-mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles, and Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges. (PNA)