13 December 2013
Agusta Westland has delivered to the Philippines Sunday three of five AW109 maritime choppers intended for the Philippine Navy.
Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic said the three multi-role choppers were assembled at Agusta Westland Hangar in Manila airport and flew to Sangley Airbase in Cavite on test flights yesterday. They will be commissioned before the end of the year after extensive testing.
Fabic said the AW109 has a "forward looking infrared (FLIR)" for enhanced search and rescue (SAR) capability and fitted with a night vision gear making it very ideal to conduct missions during the night-time. It can also be fitted in the future with dipping sonar and magnetic anomaly detection device
The anti-submarine helicopters will be deployed to the navy's flagship warships — BRP Gregorio del Pilar and Ramon Alcaraz.
The remaining two combat choppers are scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2014.
Meanwhile, a separate procurement for two (2) heavier variant Anti- Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter is being prepared by the Philippine Navy due to the weight of its propose sonar equipment.