By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, May 22 (PNA) — The armament packages for the Philippine Navy’s last two AgustaWestland AW-109 “Power” naval helicopters are now being processed and subjected to a technical inspection and acceptance committee.
This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief Cmdr. Lued Lincuna in an message to the PNA on Friday.
“The armament packages are now (undergoing processing) by the technical inspection and acceptance committee. Hopefully, within a month or so, the weapons will be given to the Navy for installation at the AW-109s,” he added.
Weapon systems of the AW-109s consist of rocket and machine gun mounts which arrived in the second week of May.
The last two AW-109 airframes arrived in the Philippines last December.
This is part of the five-helicopter deal, worth Php1.33-billion, signed by the Philippines with AgustaWestland in early 2013.
Three of the AW-109s were delivered and commissioned in Dec. 22, 2013.
The armed versions of the AW-109s will be armed with machine guns, 20mm cannons and possibly, with air-to-ground rockets.
The AW-109 “Power” helicopter is a three-ton class eight seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.
The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.
The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.
The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.
It’s superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost effective maritime helicopter in its class.
For shipboard operations, the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.
The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many others helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.
Over 550 AW-109 “Power” and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries. (PNA)