Two new attack helicopters or Augusta Westland AW-109 "Power" helicopters landed at the Philippine Navy headquarters.
These are multi-purpose helicopters with additional capacities and armaments.
"As a pilot, these new acquisitions are such a big help and relief for us and our units because finally the new choppers can also compensate the difficulties we face during operations” said LCDR. Ariel Joseph Coloma- 1st pilot, AW-109.
Coinciding with this, two Landing Craft Utility Heavy (LCH) have also been turned over to the Philippine Navy by the Australian Navy for free.
The LCH has a maximum range of 5,600 Kilometers and a displacement of 364 tons standard and 514 tons full load. It has a length of 44.5 meters and speed of 19.5 Kilometers per hour.
The ship can carry 400 soldiers or up to 180 tons of maximum payload which is almost equivalent to 13 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers.
“The capability of the landing craft heavy is humanitarian assistance and disaster response so these were donated by the Australian Navy to augment the logistics capability of the Philippine Navy” said CDR. Joselito De Guzman-Commanding Officer, BRP Ivatan.
These are also utilized for humanitarian assistance, disaster response and rescue operations in times of disaster and calamities.
According to Navy spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo, both equipment can also be used in intensifying patrol of the Philippine Navy.
"These can perform combat and non combat role. When it comes to combat, it does not only serve the Navy but other services of the Army when necessary" said Arevalo.
The newly installed Philippine Navy Flag-Officer-in-Command Rear Admiral Jesus Taccad said, though the Philippine Navy's capacity is still limited, the more important thing to monitor is our maritime security.
"We come up with acquisitions of needed fire power, which means more or less deter any naval force that would try to stop us from employing our assets to assert sovereignty over our waters" said the Admiral.
The Philippine Navy is currently in negotiation with Australian government for the purchase of 3 more Landing Craft Utility of the same class.