MANILA (Xinhua) – Two anti-submarine helicopters are due to be delivered to the Philippine navy in the first quarter of 2019, a navy spokesman said Tuesday.
Philippine Navy spokesperson Jonathan Zata said the two AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters could also be used for search and rescue and maritime surveillance tasks.
The AW159 naval helicopters are the new-generation multi-role, multi-mission maritime and utility helicopter suited to operate in harsh maritime climate comprising rough seas and associated deck motion conditions.
It has a range of 777 km and is capable of traveling at a speed of 291 km per hour.
Mr Zata said the two helicopters will boost the modest naval assets of the Philippine navy.
“It’s a big leap from our current inventory essentially because with this capability, we (can now secure) not only the surface waters but also underwater,” Mr Zata said.
According to Mr Zata, the AW159 helicopters will be the Philippine Navy’s first assets that has the capability to detect submarines.
“These helicopters would be equipped with sensors that can detect underwater vessels and can manage, or can engage (them) if needed,” Mr Zata said.
He said the Philippine navy will equip the two AW159 helicopters with torpedoes. “Those torpedoes are essentially for submarines and also for surface targets,” he added.
Moreover, he said the helicopters can also be equipped with forward-firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns, a pintle-mounted machine gun and Sea Skua missiles, along with Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.
The Philippines is currently in the process of upgrading its vintage military arsenal.