'Wildcat' choppers to give PH Navy anti-submarine capability

By Priam Nepomuceno

November 28, 2018, 9:36 am

MANILA -- The military's first anti-submarine helicopter, the AugustaWestland AW-159 "Wildcat" that has the capability to detect and engage underwater threats, is set to arrive in the first quarter of 2019.

Philippine Navy Spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata said the aerial platform is a "big leap" for the Navy as it would soon have a weapon capable of securing both "surface waters" and "underwater".

Prior to the acquisition of the anti-submarine helicopter, the Navy has no capability to detect and engage sub-surface threats.

"It is a big leap essentially dahil (because) with this capability, we now have this tool (capable) of securing not only the surface waters that we have but also underwater," Zata said.

"(And with the arrival of the AW-159), we can detect submarines, we can detect underwater vehicles and also the capability to engage underwater vehicles within our territory, so it's a tremendous leap from our current inventory," he added.

The AW-159 will be based aboard the two new frigates being constructed by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries and whose deliveries are scheduled for 2020 and 2021, he added.

The aircraft will be fitted with sensors and weapons capable of neutralizing sub-surface threats, he said.

Earlier, Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said initial flight-testing is ongoing for the two AW-159 anti-submarine helicopters acquired by the Philippines.

These aircraft were acquired for PHP5.4 billion including its munition, mission essential equipment and integrated logistic support.

The AW-159 (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter. It can also be armed with rockets, machine guns, missiles, torpedoes and depth charges. (PNA)