The Philippines Navy is shopping around for two anti-submarine helicopters it intends to purchase before 2020.
The Department of National Defense released the detailed technical specifications for the P5.4-billion Anti-Submarine Helicopter Acquisition Project, part of the Medium Term Development Capability Plan 2013-2017 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The acquisition of the missile and torpedo armed helicopters has become a priority after China recently deployed three Type 094 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines to Hainan Island, its main military base in the South China Sea.
China is engaged in increasingly tense territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea and with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
Apart from the two sub-hunter choppers, the DND has also earmarked P18 billion for two new ships under the Frigate Acquisition Project, which the Philippine Navy will require to have complete weapons systems, including surface-to-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Among the capabilities and specifications the Navy wants in its anti-submarine helicopter are:
- Two-hour endurance time in fully armed configuration
- 240-nautical mile range in fully armed configuration
- Individual crew stations for the flight crew, the tactical officer and the sensor operations officer
- Foldable main and tail rotors for storage in a shipboard hangar
- Upgraded avionics and navigations
- A “navalized” version capable of prolonged operation over the sea and “protected with anti-corrosion compounds that will ensure protection from salty/humid environment”
- An airframe capable of withstanding and surviving crash impacts of at least 10g’s;
- An IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system
Aside from these, the helicopters should be equipped with data downlink capability, enabling it to relay tactical information to ships in real-time, allowing both the aircraft and surface vessel to identify, track and “prosecute” targets.
The winning bidder must be able to deliver the helicopters within 730 calendar days and provide a separate training helicopter or “other options which are responsive to the training requirement for the operation of ASW helicopter.”
The DND has imposed strict rules for bidders, such as:
- Bidders must show that the helicopters must be already in use by other militaries in the world
- The supplier has a proven track record in the manufacturer of helicopters with Anti Submarine Warfare and Anti Surface Warfare
The AW109Es are used for maritime patrol and interdiction as well as for search and rescue. Two additional AW109Es are scheduled to be delivered later this year.