Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo (File photo) 

MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) on Wednesday said pilots and aircrew tasked to man its two AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) AW-159 "Wildcat" helicopters are currently undergoing anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training.

Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said these trainings, which are programmed for the entire year, are designed to equip personnel with adequate knowledge in manning these specialized helicopters the finer points of submarine detection and prosecution.

He added that these ASW maneuvers are in support of the flight training of the AW-159 pilots conducted in Yeovil, in the United Kingdom last year.

These involved training in the use of various surveillance systems of the AW-159s including its dipping sonar which is its primary equipment for submarine detection.

"Once our frigates (BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna) arrive, these ships can team up with the AW-159s, the 'ASW' maneuvers and train in the detection and prosecution of (submarine contacts)," Bacordo said in Filipino.

The AW-159s were acquired for PHP5.4 billion including its munition, mission essential equipment and integrated logistic support.

These are capable of speeds of 291 km/h (181 mph), range of 777 km (483 miles), a ferry range of 963 km (598 miles) and an endurance of one and-a-half hours (four hours and 30 minutes if fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks).

The AW-159s can also be armed with rockets, machine guns, missiles, torpedoes, and depth charges and fitted with modern sonar systems for tracking down submarines. (PNA)