Philippines Navy Places Order for AgustaWestland AW159s

 - April 1, 2016, 9:52 AM
The Philippines plans to deploy its two AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters on two new frigates. (Photo: Finmeccanica)

Finmeccanica on March 31 announced a €100 million ($114 million) contract from the Philippine Navy to supply two AgustaWestland AW159 helicopters for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions. The Philippines is the third customer for the improved Wildcat version of the twin-engine Lynx helicopter.

The Anglo-Italian manufacturer will build the helicopters at its facility in Yeovil, UK, with plans to deliver them in 2018. The contract includes training and multi-year support.

“This contract confirms the confidence of the Philippines in Finmeccanica’s products as key to its national security,” said Mauro Moretti, Finmeccanica CEO. “We will deliver to the Philippine Navy a state-of-the-art product, unmatched in the modern operational scenarios, and customized to meet their specific needs.”

The AW159 is equipped with Selex Seaspray 7000E active electronically scanned array surveillance radar, electronic support measures, active dipping sonar, sonobuoys and torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare; it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, guns and depth charges. Finmeccanica reports 72 orders for the helicopter, which entered service with the British Army and Royal Navy. Korea became the first export customer when it ordered eight Wildcats in 2013.

“This will definitely enhance the capability of the Philippine Navy; for the first time we will have anti-submarine helicopters,” said defense undersecretary Fernando Manalo, according to the Philippines news site Inquirer.net. The AW159s will be deployed on two new frigates the government plans to buy, he added.