There is a strong possibility that the AgustaWestland AW-159 "Wildcat" will be selected as the Philippine Navy's (PN's) first anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.
This was revealed by a military source Tuesday.
The former made this statement after noting that the AW-159 complies satisfactorily with all the requirements set by the Department of National Defense.
The AW-159 will serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles.
The helicopter has been ordered for the Royal Navy and British Army.
It is to enter service with the British Army in 2014 and with the Royal Navy in 2015.
It has a crew of two, has a maximum speed of 291 km/h (181 mph), range of 777 km (483 miles), ferry range of 963 km (598 miles) and an endurance of one and a-half hours (fours hours and 30 minutes if fitted with auxiliary fuel)
The AW-159 is fitted with forward firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns, pintel mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles and Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.
The ASW helicopter project is worth P5.4 billion.
Some of its specifications include:
-Endurance of at least two hours in ASW configuration;
-Range of 240 nautical miles in full ASW configuration;
-Must provide individual crew stations for pilots and operational crew to safely operate necessary sensor/equipment during ASW and ASUW (anti-surface warfare) operations. Nevertheless, suppliers may present other options which are responsive to the requirements based on modern technologies being applied in other foreign navies;
-Shall be fitted with an automatic/main rotor blade fold system (if four bladed) and/or tail pylon fold system if longer than the ship's helicopter hangar;
-Identification Friend or Foe (IFF)/Selective Identification Feature (SIF);
-Portable downlink receiver, at least one unit brand-new unit per helicopter, must be ready to be installed in any surface ship or ground station specified by Philippine Navy (PN), and must be interoperable with the installed data link system of the ASW helicopter.
Money for the two ASW helicopters will be sourced from Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Trust Fund.
Acquisition of the two ASW helicopters is under the Medium Term Development Capability Plan for 2013 to 2017.
The contract includes munition, mission essential equipment, and integrated logistic support.
Three companies have expressed interest in the project and these are PT Dirgantara Indonesia, Airbus Helicopters and AgustaWestland.
Bid submission and opening took place last July 15.
Winning bidders must be able to deliver the aircraft within 730 calendar days.
This is part of the country's Medium Term Defense Acquisition List for the next four years.
The ASW choppers will be assigned to the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).
The acquisition process for these ASW helicopters is expected to go on full gear once the PN completes its five AW-109 order deal from AgustaWestland by the third quarter of 2014. (PNA)