Wednesday, March 30, 2016

DND, AgustaWestland ink 2 ASW helicopter contract

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 30): DND, AgustaWestland ink 2 ASW helicopter contract

The Department of National Defense (DND) and Anglo-Italian aircraft manufacturer AgustaWestland formally signed the contract for the Navy's first two anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters Tuesday.

The signing took place at the DND main building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, munition, materiel and modernization Fernando Manalo confirmed the signing of the deal in a message to the PNA Wednesday.

DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin signed the contract for the Philippine side while AgustaWestland senior vice president for sales and strategic sourcing Stefano Bortoli inked in behalf of the aircraft manufacturer.

Manalo said AgustaWestland will supply two of its brand-new AW-159 "Wildcat" for the DND's ASW program.

The contract is worth PHP5.360 billion or lower that the stated PHP5.4 billion.

The ASW helicopters will be deployed aboard the two missile-firing frigates being acquired by the DND for the Navy.

Projected delivery of the first helicopter will take place within a year's time, Manalo said.

AgustaWestland was selected by the DND as the possible supplier of its two ASW helicopters late in 2015.

The AW-159 (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter.

It is ordered for the British Army and the United Kingdom's Royal Navy.

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, pintle mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles and Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.

The ASW helicopter project is one of the seven military modernization projects which President Benigno S. Aquino III has given DND the green-light to go into a "multi-year contract" in November 2015.

Projects placed under the "multi-year contract" include the two missile-armed frigates, eight amphibious assault vehicles, two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, munition for the brand-new FA-50PH jet fighters and surveillance radars.

Payment from the seven projects will run from 2015 to 2018.

Granting of the "multi-year contract" will allow to pursue the military modernization program beyond Aquino's term, he added.

Total value of the seven projects is about PHP44 billion.

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